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The play's the thing

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LESSONS The plays subtly conveyed important messages.
LESSONS The plays subtly conveyed important messages.

DIWAN SINGH BAJELI

A trilogy of plays highlighted the potential of dramatic art for bringing change.

Three short plays presented by Chilsag Chillies in association with Theatrepasta and Barista at LTG auditorium recently deal with the social malaise that affects contemporary Indian youth. Though two plays end in the death of the young protagonists, the pall of gloom disappears with the exhortation to combat anti-social elements.All three plays are written and directed by Sachin Gupta with a large cast that exudes youthful energy. The opening play was "Celebration of Live". Structurally, it is a play within a play, which captures heated debates, anxiety, and rivalry among actors and their little quarrels in rehearsals. As the day of premier is close at hand, the main actress is found terminally ill. At the last minute, there is little possibility of replacement. The highly talented main actress struggles for survival. But sheer will power gives her strength and courage to play the role despite her illness, and the show takes place as scheduled. The drama goes on, and so does the celebration of life.This was followed by a play about the horrible consequences of ragging in Indian universities. This production is a revival, which was presented for the first time by the group last year.

The story

The protagonist is a brilliant student who dreams of a great intellectual and creative life when he joins college. He has three colleagues. They are best friends who share his dreams. Their first encounter with college bullies shatters the dreams of the brilliant student and his friends. A terrified college administration is helpless to curb violent acts of sadistic bullies. What the traumatised and mercilessly beaten student finally does is shocking. At this stage the play's realistic style switches over to a style that recalls theatre as an instrument of social change. It gives a call to the audience to act collectively to liberate educational institutions from anti-social elements. this is a highly relevant piece of theatrical work. The evening concludes with a comedy titled "Great Mind at Work". It exposes in a comic manner students who have a casual attitude towards their studies throughout the year, and, on the eve of the examination, become hyperactive to prepare for their examinations, devising various stratagems to succeed. The play is also a subtle satirical look at our examination system. The production offers a delightful comic experience. The language suits the characters. The main source of humour is the presentation of recognisable characters and situations. The entire cast gives a good account as comic actors, but Ashish Bhandari as Kaushik, who pretends to be intelligent and a great tactician but turns out to be a ridiculous fool, and Siddhartha Arya as Kailash, an awkward and dull student, evoke hearty laughter. All these plays were staged on a bare stage with very little use of stage properties. This enabled the performers to move and interact in an uninterrupted manner.Earlier, the group gave away awards to theatre and cine personalities six were non-Indians who were not able to attend the function. From Delhi the awardees are Amitabh Srivastav, Bubbles Sabharwal and Arun Kuckreja.


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