Drama group of GITAM students is creating awareness on issues plaguing society

On a hot sultry morning at the Beach Road, an unusual sight greeted the visitors. A team of youngsters dressed in black outfits were playing drums and clapping hands to narrate a story. It was an issue which affected everyone – the plaguing issue of corruption. Minutes after they began their performance, the large gathering of audience around them was engrossed in their stories. This was precisely what students of GITAM University had envisaged two years ago when they formed their drama group ‘Faces’. They wanted to create awareness among the public on burning social and political issues by staging street plays on college campuses and public places.

With this motive, a 25-member team was created after a series of auditions of students from all branches on the campus. Two years hence, the young energetic team of ‘Faces’ has staged more than 15 street plays on issues ranging from rising incidences of rape cases, corruption cases like the 2G scam, child trafficking and women empowerment to name a few. The team also took part in IIT-Kharagpur’s cultural fest last year. “We read newspapers and watch news shows every day to keep a tab of current issues and highlight it through the plays,” says Syed Shahed Mahmood, a student of third year Mechanical Engineering branch of the university. It takes about two to three weeks time for Shahed and his team-member Raj E. Gandhi to write the dialogues.

The team is now busy planning their next topic of street play which will be on ‘vote-bank politics’ and the provision of ‘NOTA’ (None Of The Above) option for voters. The street play will be performed in early April when the election heat is at its peak. “Very few people know about NOTA option. If you don’t have choice of good leaders, giving power to a wrong person is not the solution. We want to highlight this in our street play so that people can use NOTA effectively,” he adds.

Representation

The team has a balanced representation of students hailing from different parts of the country.

“These are issues that affect everyone notwithstanding which part of India you come from,” says Madhushree Gupta, a student of third year, Civil Engineering Department. Stage fear is something that most of the students had to deal with. But the senior students of ‘Faces’ came out with a smart solution to address it.

“Each of us was told to stay frozen for a few minutes in an awkward position at the busiest centre of our college campus. This was done to help the students adapt to public gaze and help them be comfortable with being the centre of attention in public,” says Shahed. Every year, auditions are held in the university during which fresh batch of students are selected to be a part of ‘Faces’.

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