Learning was an inclusive part of the Annual Festival of Drama and Dialogue organised by The School-KFI.

The School-KFI held its Annual Festival of Drama and Dialogue between July 1 and 3. Fifteen schools from the city participated in the event, staging plays that were authored and directed by the students themselves.

Learning through theatre

Each school was asked to produce an original play or adaptation, focusing on an important issue that the youth of today are faced with. In keeping with the non-competitive philosophy of The School-KFI, no prizes or places were awarded to the teams. Instead, emphasis was laid on the participating students (mainly from Stds XI and XII) producing an original play that highlighted issues they found relevant to their lives. The students were expected to assimilate, internalise and learn from the plays that they staged.

In order to make the experience as enriching as possible, the last day of the festival was saved for an internal dialogue where the students would discuss what they had understood and gained, both from putting up their own plays and by watching the plays that the other schools put up. This was supplemented by short panel discussions that interspersed the festival, discussing the relevance and significance of each play.

Variety

The festival was held in a simple, make-shift auditorium situated in school's sprawling, leafy campus. Throughout the duration of the festival the building was abuzz with chatter and excitement. The plays themselves were varied, addressing a wide variety of issues such as academic and peer pressure, generation gap, environmental degradation and the education of the girl child. They ranged in tone from satirical to slapstick to moralistic, and were either bilingual, in English, or in Tamil. The one thing they all had in common however was that they were uniformly well-executed.

Each team had obviously put a lot of effort into scripting and rehearsing for these plays, and it had paid off richly. In particular, the play that was put up by Good Earth School, Tambaram, “Rewind, Fast Forward, Replay” stood out for its crisp narration and lucid storyline.

Several of the other plays stood out as well, for their use of humour and for making the issues they were addressing relatable and easy to understand. All in all, it was an experience that was both educative and entertaining, providing an innovative platform for today's teenagers to discuss subjects that were important to them, and to the Indian youth as a whole.