The 4th edition of Histrionica, the annual theatre festival of the Shri Ram College of Commerce is here, but with a changed format. A four day festival, it will be held from the 16th-19th January 2012. The previous editions of the festival were competition based, but this year, productions won’t be competing for any prizes but the participating teams would instead be felicitated with certificates, cash, and mementos.
The four day festival is slated to see performances of nine stage plays including three by the dramatics society of SRCC, eight street plays, ‘Groove’ the choreography competition and a number of filler events which include Shutters- the photography competition, Ad-Mad, Imagery-the poetry writing competition, ‘This, then that’- the act and react competition, Mimmikry Gimmikry. Along with these events, there’ll be a street play performance on the ill effects of tobacco by the children of NGO Hriday. These children were subjected to tobacco torture and have now been rescued. As a part of its roadtrip, Lok, the theatre group from Kolkatta will be performing its musical. It will also be conducting workships during the fest.
The festival received 21 stage play entries out of which 13 were shortlisted based on the content, and the idea was to select a spectrum of genres. The judging at this level was done by the faculty of the dramsoc of SRCC and certain alumni. These teams went through another round of selection in which they showed a few select scenes from their play. Acting, direction, execution, basic lights, music and use of the sets were some of the parameters on which they were evaluated. The judges’ panel in this round included two alumni of the dramatics society of SRCC, and one each from that of Sri Venkateswara College and Hindu College.
The plays that will be performing are ‘Mr Kolpert’ by Ramjas College, ‘Us Paar’ by Ibtida, the Hindi Dramatics Society of Hindu College, ‘Ek tha Gadha’ by Hansraj College, ‘Skeleton Woman’ by LSR, ‘Park’ by Ramjas College, ‘The Blue Moon’ by KMC. Plus, SRCC’s own dramsoc will be putting up the plays titled ‘The Untitled’, ‘Three Blind Mice’, and the ‘Studio Ruins’.
‘Skeleton Woman’ by LSR is a story about two people who defeat fantastical odds to be together. Swinging between reality and make believe it weaves together an Inuit folktale and a modern day story about a young fisherman turned writer with a potent imagination and his long suffering wife. Raksha Thakur plays the young man, Saumya Deojan plays young woman one and Garima Jaju plays young woman two.
‘Us Paar’ by Hindu College revolves around Meera, an ordinary homemaker, a mother but an extraordinary wife who sees a hero in her poet husband – Sagar, whom the world has conveniently tagged a failure. To reassure Sagar of his greatness, Meera takes it upon her to make him believe that he will essentially complete that one composition with which he has been struggling. The play is directed by Aarushie Sharma and the charcters are played by Anuran Das Gupta, Vishakha Singh, Vedi Sinha, Shreya and Animesh Panwar.
For the street play part, nineteen entries were received out of which eight were selected. The plays that would be performing during the festival are ‘Tu Maar De Seeti’ by CBS, ‘Zarurat Kya Thi’ by Hindu College, ‘Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyun Aata hai’ by IP College, ‘Mehfooz’ by DRC, ‘Praathmik’ SRCC, Dharm by Khalsa College, Laalsa by Hansraj College and ‘Ugte Suraj ka Sapna’ by SGGSC.
DHARM- the street play of Khalsa College tries to question the concept and relevance of religion in the contemporary world. The focus of the play lies on the creation and establishment of religion/religions and their interpretations in today’s times. The play tries to explore the control on and fear of religion in the common man. The play is an attempt to look for answers to a few difficult questions like-‘Is religion a creation of man’, ‘Has religion become an escape for us’, ‘Has man become a puppet in the hands of his own doing’ and ‘Do all religions preach the same things’
‘Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyun Aata hai’ by IP College disapproves the apathetic outlook to daily news headlines of rape, murder and abuse and questions human nature.
The theme of the play ‘Tu Maar De Seeti’ by CBS primarily revolves around the phenomenon of ‘Whistle-Blowing’. The motivation for the play came from the tragic fate of Sh. Satyendra Kumar Dubey, who was murdered for raising his voice against the corruption in NHAI. The play aims to awaken the conscience of the masses and encourage them to speak out against anything wrong.
Histronica is one of the finest and the most popular theatre festivals in campus. It was started four years back by four of the alumni members of the society. Talking about changing the format of the festivals, Medha Bankhwal, organizer, Histrionica says, “ The idea of holding a performance based festival is to bring together theatre enthusiasts to appreciate the art and not rank them as first, second and third. Street plays can’t be judged. Because you can’t label one social issue as more important than the other”.
Street theatre today, as we see has evolved a lot. Its not only about a group of young men and women performing a street play using danda, chunni and daffali as props. Today we see innumerable musical instruments, jute sacks, powdered colors, placards, banners, huge cloth pieces, et al being used as props. Talking about this change, Dhruv Raj Gupta, an alumnus of SRCC dramsoc says, “If using different props makes conveying the message of a play easier, then why refrain from using it. Theatre after all has no boundries”.
Medha agrees with him, “Street theatre gets audience who aren’t even vaguely interested in theatre. It spreads a message through entertainment. So if using certain props makes the play more interesting, then why not use it. And anyway there isn’t any hard and fast rule that you have to stick to a chunni danda and daffali as props”.