Two plays, some music, dance and a fantastic mime show marked ‘Night of Shrill’, organised by Make a Difference

During a chance game of cricket, Jackie swings his bat and breaks a window in his friend Sneha’s house. He is ‘punished’ by Ashok Rai, his best friend’s father. The ‘punishment’ continues behind closed doors for five long years. Years later, Jackie is on trial for the murder of five girls, including Sneha. He insists that his best friend Ashok committed the murders. A psychologist and cop try to unravel the mystery. Turns out that Ashok is Jackie’s alter ego, who came into being after the long years of sexual abuse and Jackie’s father’s suicide.

Directed by Taara Shetty, this play (‘One out of Two’, a reference to the fact that nearly 50 per cent of children face child sexual abuse), was the finale at Night of Shrill, a fund-raising event organised recently by Make a Difference (MAD), Coimbatore, at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Trust and Culture Centre.

Despite knowing the theme of the play, people cringed when the doors closed on Jackie. It helped that the acting on stage was top-class. Be it the two Shivagurus (who played Jackie Junior and Senior) or Rajeev Mathur as the menacing Mr. Ashok. Others in the cast were Gauri Chakravarthy as the adult Sneha, Archana Dange as the psychologist and Mayur Priyan as the cop.

Earlier, Tanvee Mathur had everyone rooting for her in ‘I Too Have a Dream’, a skit about child labour. She played a child labourer working in a dhaba under the cruel Shera Singh (played by Tanvee’s father Rajeev). Her whimpers and wails left everyone stunned. And, to think it was her maiden stage appearance! Mid-way through the play, you think the child will get a shot at life after being rescued. But, the very knife the child plunges into an already-injured palm to avoid working at the dhaba results in a tragedy. The little boy’s right arm, with which he wanted to write, is to be amputated. This play was directed by Monisha Mathur.

Both plays were staged by the Coimbatore Book Club Theatre Group using scripts developed by MAD.

There was a music show by Avyaktha, a band made up of college students. They played the lilting Vellai Pookal (an A.R. Rahman composition from Kannathil Muthamittaal); Tears in Heaven, composed by guitarist-singer Eric Clapton after the death of his four-year-old son; Lotus Feet, by the legendary John Mclaughlin, Zakir Hussain and Mandolin Srinivas; and an original composition, the vibrant The Fusion of Emotions.

Next up was a dance by the Agnikas. This was a classical dance to fusion music.

The Dramatics Club of PSG College of Technology left everyone in awe with its synchronised mime. Child labour, alcoholism and other social issues were dealt with brilliantly by the team of nine artists. Using just their head, hands and legs, they turned into a scooter, a water tap, a swinging door, a cot, school desk, and more.

Proceeds from the evening will go on to fund The Dream Camp, a two-day residential camp organised by MAD for children in orphanages and street shelters. The camp will have sessions on sports, education, team building, adventure, personal hygiene and skill development.

For details, call 82209-62557.