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Having been a part of the production crew in a theatre society from the past year and a half, many have raised eyebrows and questioned my role in the society. Considering similar plight of the production crew in associated performing societies, it is crucial to laud their hard-work and diligence once in a while.

The notion that production members are replaceable in a performing society is highly questionable and outright false. The success of any performing society is directly proportional to the talent and hard work it constitutes. Any normal person would categorise that success to the ones directly under the limelight, and tend to overlook the scores of people that are involved behind the curtains to make the act a success.

Many performing societies have a team of individuals working dedicatedly without acknowledgement. In a fashion society, the success of the models on ramp is heavily dependent on the designers and makeup artists who work as back-team to put up a successful show. Music tracks are selected and played by them, the choreography decided, and they also oversee sponsorship to ensure continuity of funds.

Similarly, theatre is performed collectively. The actors hog the limelight and the production members not always given equal importance, simply because they don’t appear on-stage. From managing prop and set designing, tweaking each line of the script to fit perfectly with the rest, arranging for props and setting up the stage under a time crunch, to ensuring perfect timing of sounds and impeccable lighting in each scene- these are just a few obvious tasks a production member in a theatre society performs. In a street-play society, there are percussionists and scriptwriters, working tirelessly as well to put up a thrilling production. Oftentimes, the same people are engaged in costume designing and makeup of the actors going on stage, and it’s an understatement to say the very least that they are pivotal to the play’s success alongside the actors’ talent.

In a music society too, apart from professionals hired from outside, there are individuals working on the sidelines, if not completely backstage. These people coordinate with the college staff to ensure the perfect reverb or bass in mikes and also play instruments. There is also the conductor, who manages the ensemble and directs them towards showcasing a mesmerising performance.

Production work is not meant to be seen, but it can certainly be acknowledged by the audience enjoying the act. The next time you see a perfect set with impeccable lighting and a literal spotlight on the actor’s face, don’t forget to acknowledge the efforts of the crew whose time and work went into ensuring the scene is perfectly done.

 

Feature Image Credits: Drexel University

Vijeata Balani
[email protected]

Every year, societies from colleges across the campus compete neck to neck and put up spectacular performances during the fest season. This year too, saw certain teams shine a little brighter than the rest. We bring you a series with college societies that put their heart and soul into their respective fields and took home the top prizes at various cultural fests.

The best college society in each category was selected by creating a tally of the top 3 positions at competitive events held during various cultural fests of this season. Whenever a society won the first prize, they were awarded 3 points, for the second position they received 2 points and for the third position, 1 point was added to their tally.

For the fashion category, I Vogue, the Fashion Society of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce scored the maximum points with their tally being at 5 points. Galore, the Fashion Society of Maitreyi College and Glitz, the Fashion Society of Kamla Nehru College followed next with 3 points each and Glamoratti, the Fashion Society of Dyal Singh College placed third with 2 points.

The Winning Society at a Glance

I VOGUE, Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce

Smashing and slamming the doors on the predominant social constructs, I Vogue – The Fashion Society of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce has defended its position as the best college fashion society, second year in the row. Last year I Vogue wowed the audience with its theme of inclusion of LGTB community in the mainstream society. This year, I Vogue stepped up its game a notch higher wherein their ‘Fashion Army’ bombed the stereotypical notions related to religion, gender, sexuality and shot bullets of change at racist, colorist and body shaming prejudices.

Sarthak Kathuria, President, I Vogue – “I feel so proud maintaining our position at the top. Its two years in a row, woah! My team members and I  have worked really hard to prepare what we have showcased all over the fest season. We focus on taking up fresh and current issues that need to be dealt with in our society and showcase it in a way that the essence of fashion doesn’t get lost while conveying our message to the audience. This time we portrayed a ‘Fashion Army’ who was there to fight against the various stereotypes that prevail in our society related to gender and sexuality, Beauty (Body shaming and Racism) and also religion; it was all showcased in a cohesive manner to reach out to the audience and give them an opportunity to look at the realities of life with a broader mind.  We can proudly say that we have been the trend setters in DU and this time as well we brought ahead fresh ideas in terms of concept, designs, styling, choreography, music, etc. which is all purely done by the team members, without any outside help.We have always believed in following fashion and doing fashion on stage. We stay miles away from fancy dressing and that’s what I believe makes us stand apart. We brought our ideas to life without any funding from anywhere, but it all seems to have paid off well for us.
IVogue is like a family, we have been through the whole journey together and I feel each and every member has played their part very well. So three cheers to my amazing team, without which we couldn’t have had made this a success.”
Active Members

Sarthak Kathuria (President)

Harsh Kapoor (Vice President)

Head Designer and Stylist: Sarthak Kathuria

Choreography: Sarthak Kathuria and Harsh Kapoor

PR Team:
Manpriya Jain
Rishabh Dabas
Chayan Jain

Make Up and Hair:
Kanku Vyas

Other performing members:
Divank Satwani
Yash Tyagi
Jasneet Kaur Bhatia
Kangana Makkar
Harmeet Kaur
Prabhjot Batra
Jugti Bakshi
Harleen Kaur

Winner’s Tally: I Vogue

Eight college fests were referred to while evaluating the top societies tally this fest season which were: Tarang, LSR; Ullas, KNC; Tempest, Miranda House; Montage, JMC; Mecca, Hindu College; Reverie, Gargi College; Nexus, Sri Venkateswara College; and Confluence, Hans Raj College. Only a few of these fests held competitive fashion show events, and the society emerged victorious at the following:

1st Position: Ullas
2nd Position: Mecca

The society also won many accolades at various other colleges like NIFT, College of Vocational Studies and Dyal Singh College.

(Hover over the icons to know more about their victories)

Design by Alex Arthur

Nidhi Panchal

[email protected] 

 

Delhi University has all sorts of societies to accommodate various talents, be it drama, dance, debate, photography or even the most glamorous of them all: fashion. When one visualizes fashion, one thinks of spotlights, high heels and flawless models. Anyone who has had the luck of witnessing a DU fashion society perform can affirm that such performances scream confidence and ooze glamour. However, underneath the makeup (and what phenomenal make up it is!) and costumes, simmer hours of rehearsals and meticulous conceptualizing, a fact that people are unaware of.

Themes and Dresses
Before preparing for the ramp, it’s the dresses and props that are designed and this is not about randomly assorting an array of garments.Rather, everything is made exclusively on the basis of a theme.

The Institute of Home Economics’ fashion society Poise has won praise for their awe-inspiring and graceful performances on themes such as ‘Palace of Illusions’, which showcases the Mahabharata through Draupadi’s eyes (it must be inspired by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s book of the same name) and ‘Naqaab’, which depicts multiple personality disorders.

‘Prophecy’, the fashion society of Lady Irwin College prides itself for interesting interpretations of topics such as ‘Circus’ and ‘Gods and Men’. Their most famous creation was ‘Contemporary Cleopatra’s Eviction’, which is a recreation of Egypt’s iconic pharaoh Cleopatra’s descend and demise.
‘IVogue ‘, the fashion society of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce aced almost all the completions last year with the theme of the liberal and much needed rendering of LGBTQ Rights.

‘GLITZ’, the fashion society of Kamla Nehru College have performed on themes like ‘Androgyny’, ‘Feminism’, ‘Fifty Years Of Fashion’, ‘LGBT’, and very recently- ‘Rape’, where they showcased the journey of a rape survivor who must fight the stigma of society and earn justice.

Bhavya Atreja, President of ‘Prophecy’,says, “The hardest part of running a fashion society is to make a theme and then present it accurately thorough our dresses, props and expressions so that the audience can understand it. It takes a lot of creativity since we don’t seek help from any choreographer.” “For weeks I’ve been taking trips to Shanti Mohalla, Katran Market and Chandani Chawk to get desired fabrics. Once you get the cloth, it’s another challenge altogether to convince the tailor to stitch it accordingly within a limited budget.” Chitra Dabral, Secretary of ‘Prophecy’ sighs.“But at the end it’s worth it,” Medha Singh from ‘Glitz’, reveals, “We not only have to walk effortlessly in high heels, but we also have to plan and portray a theme relevantly through a fashion show which is not an easy task as a fashion show isn’t as expressive as say, a dance sequence or a play. Designing an entire collection, creating props, doing everything in a fixed budget- everything is a challenging task in its own. But all said and done, the end result makes all the hard work worth it.”Talking about themes and dresses Sarthak Kathuria, President of ‘IVogue’,points out, “I would really like to mention the fact that fashion societies should understand the difference between fashion and fancy dressing. While everyone’s different taste in fashion is appreciated, fancy dressing kills the vibe of what fashion is. Also, plagiarism is another issue that is in play and must end in order to have a healthy and fair environment for the fashion societies to exist.”
Plagiarism is a pertinent problem and has increased manifolds, especially after the practice of hiring the same choreographer by some societies has started taking place.

Rehearsals and sequences
It is usually assumed that fashion societies don’t have to do anything in terms of rehearsals. “It’s just about looking good and walking” many people are heard saying. However, to be honest, it’s just a stereotype.
Addressing this issue Bhavya Atreja, says “We get to hear this always- you guys simply walk in heels. But I want to ask them, can you spend even two hours in heels without complaining? We practice daily for two hours minimum and it takes lots of sweat to master our walk, expressions, sequences and poses. It’s very calculative in terms of timings and music beats.”Sarthak Kathuria, echoes the same sentiment, “People have a misconception about the work of a fashion society, because all they think we do is ‘walk’. What they don’t know is how much practice goes in to perfect the kind of walk that looks good on stage and is acceptable for a fashion show. Understanding the right posture of the body, the right kind of poses, switching between paces, to name a few. Working to create a theme altogether is a great task in itself. From designing the garments to developing a great choreography and music are all important things that need to be taken care of. So we practice 5 days a week, for a minimum of 3-4 hours, which increases to sometimes 5-6 hours if we have events coming up in the near future. The more time one invests in practicing the right way to walk, the better the body gets adapted to walk easily on stage, especially for girls since walking with poise and confidence in a pair of heels is no joke!”

Like it takes choreography in dance and direction in theater, fashion also requires sequences to be orchestrated. When to enter and leave, where to take a position and how to strike- a pose all these things are diligently thought of and now with the invention of chair arrangements, horizontal-vertical – cross formations and dangerous lifts- everything should go as per plan.

Dealing with harassment
On 21st January 2017, during Aurobindo College’s fest ‘Mehak’, ‘Poise’, the fashion society of Institute of Home Economics was performing. In the middle of their performance, due to circuit failure the music stopped. Hoping that the music will resume soon, the models stood in their positions, whereas it took about five minutes for fixing the glitch. Meanwhile, the rowdy elements in the crowd started passing lewd comments such as “Khadi kyu hai? Naach na!” Some of them even threw coins on stage. Somehow, the models kept calm and ended their performance. When they were leaving the stage, one particular voice shouted another expletive.Unable to take it anymore, Srishti Panday (member of ‘Poise’) turned back, showed that guy her middle finger and called him out from the stage.

Regrettably this isn’t an isolated incident; eve-teasing and name calling are frequent occurrences during fashion shows.Medha Singh from ‘Glitz’,Kamla Nehru Collage, agrees, “Unfortunately, every girl in a fashion society has dealt with something like this on stage at least once. The advice that we give to our members is- Do not let them get to you. You’re stronger, and better, than one mean comment passed on to you by an ignorant member of the audience. Slay them with your confidence!”

Sarthak Kathuria, President of ‘IVogue’ resonates “We have seen a display of rowdy behavior happening and heard various lewd comments too but I believe it has reduced over time. Although, we train our members to deal with any such instance that might occur when they are performing. We can’t really change the mentality of the person passing any unwanted comments, so we usually ignore such things or simply laugh it off.”

Bhavya Atreja, President of ‘Prophecy’ reiterates Sarthak’s view but also insists on taking a stand, “We have always faced such unruly attitude from anti-social elements in the crowd. Although we concentrate more on our performances while on stage, if something like this happens off stage then the whole team takes a strict stand.”

What it takes
What exactly does it take to run or become a part of a fashion society?
According to ‘Poise’,a person has to be confident and willing to stick with the team in through thick and thin. Bhavya Atreja, values “regular practice, sincerity and creativity.”

Sarthak Kathuria has valuable advice for those who want to work in this area,“The only suggestion that I would want to give anyone who wants to be with us is- join only if you’re ready for all the work that goes in developing what’s being showcased on the stage. And removing all preconceived notions about a fashion society before joining one is a must. To pursue glory only for yourself won’t take you far. You must work as a team and for the team.”

If you think only certain body type and height can get you in, then Medha Singh from ‘GLITZ’ has some insights for you, “Freshers are often intimidated by a fashion society, and they are wrongly led to believe that we only pick people who fit in a certain body type or height requirement. Our advice to them is to not give in to these myths. Anyone with a passion for fashion and creativity is welcome in our society, despite the way they look. We’re all about cultivating fierce girls who feel comfortable in their own skin. Pro tip for auditions: Confidence is the key.”

Now you can imagine that with designing, choreographing and practicing for long hours, a ramp walk is certainly not a cake walk and that being in a fashion society is more than just a strut in stilettos. All that glitters is truly, not gold!

Niharika Dabral
[email protected]

Image Credits: Gerush Bahal for DU Beat
Image Caption: Lady Irwin College’s ‘Prophecy’ showcases ‘Cleopatra’s Eviction’

Hansraj College is one of the few co-ed colleges in Delhi University that has a fashion society. And within a short span of time, this society has earned a very good reputation in the DU fashion circuit.

“Shunali Moza founded this society in 2010, and it has grown into a big society since then.”, says Prasiddi, a member. The society meets on a regular basis, and discusses themes, costumes and everything related to putting up fashion shows. They talk about oncoming college competitions and their themes and plan their actions accordingly. “Last year, the theme for BITS Pilani fashion show was Road Trip and the theme for the DU fest was ‘Rise of the Dead’, so based on themes we plan our outfits.”, adds Prasiddi.

One common assumption you are likely to make is that since it’s a fashion society, it would be a having a designer as well. But that’s not the case. All such work is done by the members of the society only. “We pick up random clothes and accessories from the market and style them according to the theme”, says Prasiddi. Although they sometimes hire a choreographer to teach them different poses and styles of walking and making dramatic appearances while performing.

The achievement list of the society is impressive. They won the competition at SRCC and SSCBS this year, were finalists in BITS Pilani last year and Prasiddi won the best model at SRCC this year too.

Though the society is officially registered, they were not allowed to put up posters for fresher auditions, for no apparent explained reason. However, Prasiddi says, “We already have a lot of people, we just need 2 more, for BITS pilani next month. We are famous all over DU, it’s going great.”