Theatre

Centre of attention

BEYOND ENTERTAINMENT A group performing at the event

BEYOND ENTERTAINMENT A group performing at the event   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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A street play competition brought to fore some of the most significant socio-political issues of our times

The Central Park of Delhi's Connaught Place witnessed an eight hour long Nukkad Natak Competition, hosted by Jazba Theatre Group. Initiated in 2011 as Sagar Nagpal Memorial Nukkad Natak Competition, this annual street play festival is an attempt to pay homage to late Sagar Nagpal, former member of the Jazba Theatre Group. Unlike other theatre groups, Jazba Theatre group has not restricted its initiative to create awareness of social issues, and has meticulously handled Theatre as a medium of performing arts as well as a source of education and employment.

Street theatre or nukkad natak has become a powerful tool of foregrounding topical social and political issues and spreading awareness amongst people. And this street play competition was no different. The plays took up themes like the impact of thriving social media, gender identity, marital rape law, religious intolerance and flaws in the education system in the country.

Interestingly, it was a performance by the students of SRCC, the most sought after college of Delhi University, which took up the issue of obsession of students with big brands like SRCC and other colleges of North Campus. Engrossed to win the rat race, in order to get admission into the elite colleges, the students engage themselves only in rote learning, which is incongruous to the true meaning and essence of education. The play also delineated the plight of ad-hoc teachers who are merely puppets in the hands of college management.

In many of the performances, the students adhered to Bertolt Brecht's (German playwright) concept of breaking of the fourth wall, where the actor addresses the audience directly in order to sustain their attention on the social political issues of the play. Gendered identity was one of the most recurring themes in the competition, where the actors emphasised in different ways on how gender is only a social construct as our identities are conditioned by the society.

Twelve selected teams from Delhi University and IP University out of 36, participated in the competition. Gargi College bagged the first position and College of Vocational Studies and Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology got the second and third positions respectively.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 11:58:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/centre-of-attention/article23291781.ece

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