play review


Recently, DramaNomics, theatre society of College of Vocational Studies performed their annual stage production. Here is the review of the same.

Pollution is one of the biggest problems of this decade. With the government taking steps towards reducing plastic usage and banning single-use plastic in some areas, plastic pollution and its adverse effects still find a way into our daily lives.  A recent study shows that microbial plastic has made its way into the food chain and it’s long term effects include exposure to carcinogens and inflammation of the stomach lining.
Street theatre has now found its way to address the plastic menace. DramaNomics, the theatre society of College of Vocational Studies performed their annual street production ‘Plastic Paradox’ as a part of the Sahitya Kala Parishad at Kamani Auditorium. Packed with enthusiasm, one-liners, and a great background music, the play finds a hilarious way to address the ongoing plastic crisis in India.

Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat.
Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat.

The play starts with an infographic on plastic usage and slowly progresses to scenes of human evolution, the development of technology, and human intellect leading to the discovery of single-use plastic. The passage of time and evolution is represented by a human clock, moving in synchronicity as one of the actors delivers the Public Service Announcement. The play moves on to showcase the hypocrisy of the society when it comes to reducing plastic usage. The play not only talks about the impact of plastic on humans, but also its impact on marine animals and their survival.


Plastic Paradox tackles the issue and presents it in the most entertaining way possible. With a Punjabi-English rap song on saving the environment and pointing out the anomalies in the modern day society with respect to environmental concerns, DramaNomics take the audience on a 15 minute hilarious yet thought provoking journey on the impacts of pollution, and the need to take action against.

The play has won various awards at inter-college theatre festivals and gained widespread recognition across the theatre circuit.
Feature Image Credits: Jaishree Kumar for DU Beat.

 Jaishree Kumar

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Backed by impeccable acting and an intricate plot, the annual production of Verbum, the English Dramatics Society of Sri Venkateshwara College, trod on the tricky territory of pedophilia and virtual reality. It asked questions like – should our imagination collide with “morals”, what are ethics, and what all constitutes our identity? The prospect of “Hideaway”, a play promising to be a sci-fi drama, which had words “virtual reality” and “near future” in its synopsis didn’t exactly set my heart racing. But then I was given a free pass by the organisers (let’s be real, who resists free stuff), and the venue was the beautiful India Islamic Cultural Centre, I couldn’t resist and went to watch the play anyway and I’m glad that I did. The play opened with the spotlight on the interrogation table. On the table, there was a smoldering cigarette, Sims aka Papa, the creator of a virtual world called “The Hideaway”, where those suffering from the pedophilic disorder can “blow off steam” and lives their fantasies, and Morris, a detective who is trying to uncover the secrets of “The Hideaway”. There are five main characters: Iris, a virtual character who severs “guests” in the Hideaway, Doyle, an investigative agency insider who imposes Iris, and Mr. Woodnut, a frequent visitor to the Hideaway. The crux of the narrative revolves around Detective Morris’s interrogations that aim to expose the Hideaway and the relationships forged in the realm. I can’t write the plot properly, not just because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but also because I’m not sure if my summarisation will be able to do justice to the intricacies of the plot. The direction by Akshaj Saini and Dasoju Sai Sanket is skilled. They made sure that the entrances and exits are smooth.  I felt that they divided the stage space too starkly in left and right which made it inconvenient to see and hear what is going on if you happen to sit anywhere other than the centre seats. The direction predominantly had two main backdrops: one of interrogation table and other of the realm.  The background in the later stages changed often. There were instances where two scenes were running parallelly. These settings called for proficient light work and this is where team Verbum fell short. The folks who managed the lights were spot on with the spotlight, but fell prey to clumsiness while adjusting lighting from A to B, revealing a significant portion of the crew (dressed in black and unnerved by the onslaught of visibility) swiftly shifting chairs and tables. The music, handled by Ankita Podder and Abhimanyu Singh, complimented and built the atmosphere. At certain segments, it was so melodious and calm that I felt myself being physically relaxed. The last scene, which is marvelously executed and written, owes its impact to the music that accompanies it. The story could have been made more interesting by imaginative staging. It’ll be great if Verbum changes the obnoxious gramophone. When even their cognac bottle looks perfect then the ersatz gramophone appears to be a shame. Akshaj Saini mastered the art of body language; you could see his posture shift from confident to defensive. When he coddled Iris, I could sense slyness underneath the charm. His subtle, but impactful expressions like a simple stare or a slight movement of hands across his face conveyed all messages. Every time he uttered “Fuck”, I twitched because the pronunciation was so definite with disgust.  Karthik Dammu played Mr. Woodnut satisfactorily. To put it simply, he effortlessly humanised pedophiles, that’s how convincing his guilty demeanour was. Natika Niyogi embodied Iris with utmost grace. When she cried I was pained. Her sorrow was all-encompassing, and her acting was skillfully executed. I would have “crossed-over” into the play, only to give her a hug. Rishika Kaushik’s enaction of Detective Morris was powerful. She made me sign up for team Morris from the very first scene. Her conviction and self-righteousness seeped out of each word she spoke made and made me root for her. Deepan Gondolay played Doyle and he is neither good nor bad. In all honesty, I didn’t notice him (but I did notice his pepper grey hair) until the last scene which, in all fairness, he owned. Watch this some one-hour long production if you are interested in digital humanities, psychology, or good theatre.   Feature Image Credits: Verbum Niharika Dabral [email protected]]]>

Often times we see that the screen or stage adaptations of classic novels do not do justice to the nuances of the written text, however, director Ishwar Shunya’s “Joothan” based on Omprakash Valmiki’s autobiographical book of the same name recreates the monumental story with equal effect.

Joothan (leftover food from one’s plate that was traditionally eaten by low caste people after they collected the plates of the upper caste folks) chronicles the life and struggles of Omprakash, a “low-caste” boy living in an Uttar Pradesh village during the 1950s.

From early on, the play illustrates the social standing of Churas,a low caste community whose job is to clean toilets, work as labor, tan leather from dead cattle, etc, and establishes how economic deprivation of the untouchables is a result of the caste system. There are numerous moments in the 1 hour 45-minute long drama when the performances will give you goose bumps and the overwhelming feelings of anger, triumph, sadness, and hope.

One of the most powerful scenes in the play is when Omprakash’s mother throws dirty pattals (leaf plates) at a dominant caste patriarch when he humiliates her. Though the play is littered with tragedy, there is a segment which depicts a policeman sodomising a Dalit youth with an iron rod. The vividity of the scene is triggering and particularly disturbing. I almost wished the audience was warned about it.

The dialogues are honest and hard-hitting, with a liberal dose of crass expletives. While the casteist terms such as Chura, Chamaar, and Bhangi were used to portray the brazen abuse of Dalits, a section of the audience laughed each time these terms were uttered. The fact that the audience was seeking comedy in the humiliation of marginalized folks showed insensitivity of urban crowd.

The acting is on point by a superb cast. Abhijeet Singh plays the antagonist Chaudhary and Daroga very convincingly. Rohit Kumar enacts the innocence of young Omprakash with perfection that makes the viewer root for him. Anas Khan personates the adult Omprakash and arrests the attention of everyone.

The live music by Prasoon Narayan, Sachin, Prashant Misra and Raj Kishor made the production stellar. Kabir bhajans such as ‘Ud Ja Hans Akela’ alongside old Bollywood melodies like ‘Pal Pal Dil ke Pass’ serenaded the audience.

Lightning by Sachin Kumar and Badal Singh complimented the impeccable set that was designed by Kanchan Ujjal Singh. There were at least five to six different backdrops and the transition from one background to another was perfectly handled by Tanvi Goel and Manish Kumar. The collective efforts of the cast and crew encapsulated in a long, standing ovation.

Go and watch this LGT Auditorium Repertory production whenever you get a chance, because it will be totally worth it.

Poster by Ishwar Shunya
Poster by Ishwar Shunya


Feature Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat 

Niharika Dabral

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The Prayogshala Theatre Group performed their first play Kathakaar in The Attic, Connaught Place. Their first project was a huge hit among the audience and garnered rave review.  This play was a collaboration of alumnae and members of Natuve – Theatre society of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Deshbandhu Dramatics Society, Memesis – Theatre society of Daulat Ram College, Manchtantra -Theatre society of SGGS and Anubhuti Streetplay society of JDMC.

The play Kathakaar presented the relationship between Kanhaiya and Rishi, and how they struggled with their respective homosexual identities. The character of Rishi struggles with his love for Kanhaiya and his homosexual identity. Kapil Sian as Rishi does an astounding job to bring out the perplexities of his character and leaves the audience wanting for more. The play quickly takes many interesting turns as the audience soon discover that Kanhaiya suffers from a split personality syndrome.The play manages to leave the audience intrigued in the backdrop of murder and dual personality of Kanhaiya. Akshat Chauhan pulls off the character of Kanhaiya or Krishna splendidly, and deserves appreciation for his portrayal.

The play is written and directed by Akshat Chauhan. The script is crisp and deals with the romantic  homosexual relationship between Kanhaiya and Rishi quite delicately and maturely. Kathakaar; as an experimental and intimate theatrical play, does an exceptional job. The director utilised the performance space brilliantly and left no stone unturned in leaving a lasting impression on the minds of people.

There were only a handful people and both, the audience and the actors occupied the same space. A makeshift stage was set up and the ambiance was cosy, warm and relaxed. The dynamics between the audience and the actors was considerably different because of the form of the play.  The audience was as involved as the actors in the performance.

Nimish Nanda, Anisha Baura, and Anshul Mahindru as supporting cast members revved up the energy up of the play with their exceptional acting and deep portrayal of their characters.  The lights by Prashant Ved and sounds by Jyotish Dhanwani and Chavi Sagar left a mark.

Kathakaar tries to bring the issue of homosexuality to the forefront with the sensitiveness that it requires. The relationship dynamics between Kanhaiya and Rishi is explored wonderfully. The play was appreciate by the audience and had two successful shows one after another.

This effort definitely deserves praise as the chemistry between every member was palpable, and the dedication of every member to make this show a success could be seen in every scene of the play.


Feature Image credits:DU Beat

Anukriti Mishra

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‘ was not Rajat Kapoor’s first, second or even third play with a red nosed cast but his fourth, and he’s definitely got a lot clown culture in his bag without the concept being overcooked. It was an alluring take on the Shakespeare’s comedy ‘As You Like It‘. The play was filled with constant tussle and even role reversal, igniting applause and laughter in perpetuum. The Shakespearean story, by the end of it, will start looking incredibly confusing and you would deem some parts to be quite illogical as part of the original edit. The Clown Corps was lead by the Striking Popo (Joy Fernandes), the play director, who would actually be consistently striking the mischievous rears of his actors. This play dissects each clown’s love life in the background of an economic and identity crisis. While the actors are playing their respective parts, all fiction-life internal jealousy and friction among the characters comes out in their rehearsals. Coco (Aadar Malik) and Mimi (Faezeh Jalali) are star crossed lovers who play the roles of Orlando and Rosalind, who in this play have met online. These characters bring out a funny twist of insecurities that affects their on stage performances and causes them to transition in and out of their roles and, say their usual dialogues in unusual ways. Fifi (Shruti Vyas) was the queen of ‘Friend-Zoning’ with Fido (Vinay Pathak) being the poor obsequious victim, fetching Fifi’s tea and painting her toenails. Their parallel characters Phoebe and Silvius of course correlate with their fiction-life positions and make them share the same one sided chemistry, mostly, being concocted in Silvius’s head. Soso (Cyrus Sahukar) is a classic example of a romance pessimist who plays the character of Melancholy Jacques. The only relationship he can seem to sustain is one where he can successfully predict the outcome to be in his favour, which is with his sock puppet Toto. Gigi (Rytasha Rathore) is the recently flown in ruffle-puff foreign edit of this hopeless lot who is either causing trouble among the actors or passing advances to Popo in order to land a significant role in his production. When the cauldron starts to boil over with all the tension, that’s when the abstract comes to life “To find yourself… you must become the other”. The men and women both puff up with confidence knowing that they understand the opposite sex to the tee. It’s a hysterical circle of events as the women play the men and the men play the women and all the stereotypes attached to each of them are thrown into the audience. The highlight of the play, however, has to be Toto’s frustrated, insightful monologue mocking the entire intent behind the production and the petty fall outs of the characters. It was as if Rajat Kapoor made room for the talent’s as well as the critic’s job. Baani Kashyap [email protected] Image Credits: http://www.mid-day.com/]]>