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Priscilla Corner (November '99)

Priscilla CornerNot too long back, theatre buffs in Bangalore witnessed an amazing spectacle. There was this Broadway play called "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" which had taken the garden city by storm. With 13 full-house shows, the play had made an enormous impact with its rather offbeat theme. And in the lead role was none other than the versatile and highly talented, Priscilla Corner.

"It was a multi-dimensional role and I was richer by the experience," says Priscilla, her bright eyes sparkle in recollection. It had challenged her abilities as a singer, actress and dancer, as well as intellectually. She didn't just pull it off. That would be an understatement. Her performance was an outstanding success and this class act characterized her all-round talent. Modest that she is, Priscilla was quick to point out that she owes a lot to Joshua Finkel - the other main actor in the play - who was "a real professional Broadway star."

Born in Bilaspur, Priscilla studied at various schools because her father was in the army and hence, constantly on the move. Eventually she passed out from Park English school in Calcutta. On her 16th birthday she first met her would-be-husband - Robin Corner, a professional jockey - and she married him when she was just 17. "That was a good decision. All that I wanted was to be happy," says Priscilla. They moved to Bangalore in the early 80's. When the children were born, she set aside everything else and concentrated on bringing them up. The priorities were clear and well defined.

Artistic talent has this remarkable feature of being unwilling to stay bottled-up for too long. Especially, when the genius within a person like Priscilla Corner starts to beckon with gurgling noises. Alternating between writing and acting requires immense aptitude and skill. Add to that, the power of extreme concentration. So, she comes out of her shell and acts in an artistically successful movie called "The Outhouse" which won two awards and was one amongst thirteen to be short-listed for the National Panorama film festival. As if that wasn't enough, she flexes her vocal chords and renders two songs for the Hindi film "Prem Angan". Whew! That's what's meant by "loads of talent".

Priscilla CornerAnd what does she like doing best? Is it writing, acting, singing or something else that we may have missed out? "Writing draws me more. Here, one is in control of the characters. And of course, the theatre. Because the theatre is an actor's medium, whereas, the movie is a director's medium," states Priscilla, confident as ever. Presently, she's working on writing her first book besides doing her regular twice-a-month feature in the Times of India.

The Corner family is a gifted lot. The children have grown up. Her college-going daughter, Sarah, was Miss Bangalore recently and her son, Robin Corner Jr., though still in school has already acted in two films. Husband in now a retired jockey. This means that Priscilla has now enough time on hand to balance her act.

Would she ever move out of Koramangala? "No way," comes the reply even before we finished asking the question. She's quick to add, "Koramangala is the reason why we are living in Bangalore".

Even if you did Priscilla, Koramangala would move with you. To any nook and corner.

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