theatre society


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
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“Main shahifakeer wah bhai wah, main shahifakeer wah bhai wah,
main sona naa maangiya wah bhai wah,
main heera naa maangiya wah bhai wah,
yeh Kshitij humara wah bhai wah,
yeh gaana gaanda kyaaaaa…”

As freshmen, standing on the threshold of the seemingly crucial years of our life, intimidated by the novelty of the ensuing pursuits, the theatre society is a place that provides a reckless calm to the effervescent souls.

They say there are some things in life that leave an indelible impression on you, enough to last lifetimes. Those who have had the privilege of spending their hours and days and weeks in their college’s dramatics society know how well-meaning something as intangible as an art form can be. Swaying to the melodious cacophonies produced from an array of musical instruments, from the very well-known indigenous dholaks to the lesser known rope tuned, skin-covered goblet drums, djembe, are artists sworn to their intent to deliver justice wherever they find it lacking.

The very roots of street theatre embody a melange of progressive world views, portrayed rather comically with exaggerated gestures and bold expressions to allure the audiences into attention. Their sartorial uniformity is very pleasing to the eye. From the charcoal black kurtas to the flamboyant tones of green, red, and blue, all with the exception of nothing, makes them a picturesque act all of their own.

The gruelling months of research that goes into the making of a play, the very stringent workout regime custom-made to fit the requisites of a street theatre artist, and the several challenging acting workshops that one has to be put through to ensure riddance of mental blocks and innate inhibitions helps improve not just the performance but also positively contributes to their holistic development.

A much-needed value addition to life, as I like to call it, my theatre society is the culmination of everything that makes me want to to be proud of who I am and what I do. It is one of the very few things that you will do in your life that will seem fitting regardless of the cause and will tire you endlessly for all the right reasons.

For however long I choose to be here, I know that I made the right choice to steal a quick glimpse than to have not seen it at all.

Feature Image Credits: Chauraha 2017, IP College for Women 


Lakshita Arora

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Lakshya, the theatre society of Kamala Nehru College, was recently disqualified in the Mahavidyalaya Natya Samaroh organised by the Sahitya Kala Parishad. Lakshya’s annual theatre production, “Shahira Ke Naam”, is a play that revolves around college girls who live their life to the fullest. Naturally, the play involved a few simple words to describe women’s underwear. At the end of their performance, an announcement was made to inform the participants that morality must be maintained in the plays. It was after this that the society was informed that they were disqualified.

The students wondered if the disqualification was because they had used a few swear words. However, other teams had used many more vulgar words. Eventually, they were told that it was because of their use of words such as “bra” and “panty” that they had been disqualified. The Sahitya Kala Parishad stated that such words were acceptable in a girls’ college, but not for a public performance viewed by families. The problem with this is that there were a few other plays which also used questionable language, which was arguably more offensive – misogynistic and casteist.

Such backlash for merely mentioning women’s underwear was called out by the students of the society as well as their convenor. Soon, the news began to spread and theatre societies of other colleges, as well as the general student community shared their own views in support of the Kamala Nehru students. For instance, Rangayan, the dramatics society of Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College said that “creating havoc out of the usage of these terms and their portrayal is archaic and abnormal”. Dilgrace Kaur, Vice President of Lakshya stated that the Sahitya Kala Parishad had come under fire before for similar reasons.

When the news reached the organisers, they claimed that the society was not disqualified, but would only lose marks for offensive language. Monami Basu, the teacher convener of the society said she received a call from Kapil Mishra, the Minister of Water, Tourism, Art, Culture and Gurudwara Election. He said he would ask the Sahitya Kala Parishad to neither disqualify nor deduct marks for the performance.

On 31 January, members of Pinjra Tod protested against the misogynistic decision off the Sahitya Kala Parishad. They hung bras in the Shri Ram Centre, where the performance had taken place. Somaya Gupta, one of the protesters, said that “it’s high time that people start normalising things such as women’s undergarments” and that the protest was not “just about the disqualification, but about prohibiting conversation even in a cultural space”.

It remains to be seen what the Sahitya Kala Parishad and other conservative organisations will take from the students’ attempts to fight this misogyny. As Monami Basu said, “If it titillates you, it is your problem. We reject your pretentious hypocritical propriety.”



Image Credits: The Hindu

Vineeta Rana

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The Theatre Society of SGTB Khalsa College depicted the stark truth of the different shades of war in their Annual Production and witnessed a full house on all the three days.

Shakespeare said “All the world’s a stage” and his ideology has perfectly resonated with times and minds. For the students of Ankur, the Theatre Society of SGTB Khalsa College, the Nukkad (also known as Jannat) area of the college was transformed into an opportune stage for the audience to indulge their creative pleasures in!

The Annual Production, titled Check, Mate. was performed from 23rd-25th October, 2016 attracting students, parents, and teachers through the light-adorned area for a perfect evening under the stars. The audience could see a vast setup of black drapes bordering the stage and were delighted with the playful Mario-theme preceding the starting. The costumes complemented the traditional flavour of the play, and the setup piqued the interest of the viewers. The play opened up to an exciting, comic and intriguing dialogue exchange amongst the members of a community.

It was switching between two modes: one, of the rural area of the aam aadmi; two, of the corporate world of business executives who strike deals disregarding the impact on the world of commoners. As the play progressed, a blanket of curiosity had settled amongst the crowd; each phase of the play received with a desire to precipitate more. Shades of politics, human nature, and societal attributes were beautifully portrayed by the talented actors who were thoroughly absorbed in their characters. The play was able to thoughtfully provide an insight into the complex consequences of war on the human mind and the human life.

The intriguing story ended with jingoistic music echoing in the background as the scene symbolized the never-ending cycle of the game of war, and how its strings are being manipulated by certain sections of the society. With a texture of humour induced by the ‘samosa cravings’ and ‘bathing scenes’, a tinge of reality being laid out in terms of women symbolization and narrow visions of a backwards community, and drawing parallels between the worlds separated by the stage borders; Ankur beautifully carried out the painful atrocities of war and impermanence of peace on a relatable shoulder. It proved how war is greater than the borders of black and white, and thus, the show was brought to an end with a thunderous applause for the brilliant efforts!

Saumya Kalia
Image Credits: https://web.facebook.com/ankur.dramsoc.sgtbkhalsacollege/

They talk about freedom, they talk about expression, they talk about creation and they talk about celebration. They sin and shake the foundations of society’s very being. They are Abhivyakti, the theatre society of Maitreyi College. Uncivilised Daughters, an annual production of the year 2016-17 marks the meaning of this society. To begin the journey of this year, Abhivyakti showcased their production on 2nd September at Akshara Theatre.

The play began with classic brashness, breaking the rules of a woman’s civility. The rustic opening with a gibberish song was more than appealing to a great number of audience. This scene is a story in itself, a story untold. With Rashi Sharma playing the violin, Shriya tandon leading the background with the subtle tune of harmonium and Shivani Behl creating an aura of awe from beats of the djembe, the play makes a man get inside a different world, an unimaginable world.

The first scene in the order is the make-up scene. How beautiful is this world of plastic? How sensational is the world of make-up? Let’s set some standards of beauty. Maybe that will help ? This, is what is mocked and this is what is on-your-face, perhaps.

The set changes and scene 2 takes place. This scene is named the waxing scene. Through heart-rendering monologues of six girls sitting in a shitting position, the scene brings chills down the spine. After all, who imagines a girl to be shitting? Suddenly a transition takes place and the scene shifts from being less intense to more intense. Inspired from Virginia Woolf’s a room of one’s own, the dialogues between the actors define the need for a separate space. A space to read, to write, to smoke and to masturbate. With the emphasized lines being, “Ek adad kamre ki zarurat hai..” How typically the metaphorical joker represents the society and a sub conscious mind is a breath-taking observation.

The love scene is a reflection of what happens in a world which runs through the norms of a civilized society, which is probably a farce. The present day commercialisation of love and the various status symbols involved in “being in a relationship” brings home the exclusivity of love and how it functions in today’s world. The baseless of this irony reflects through a hilarious song, the lyrics of which are: Baby khana khaya kya Baby aaj nahaya kya Baby recharge karaya na Baby pyaar nibhaya na

And so forth and so on..

The baraat scene, last in the sequence of the scenes lays thrust on the nudity of baraat, mostly evident in any indian wedding. To know the absurdity of bribe, commodified love and the mother of all show offs, welcome to an Indian wedding. The scene is just a practical trailer. The play ends with a poem, disturbing the sub conscious state of a human mind. The beauty of the poem is it’s honesty. To qoute the unqoute, Asabhya betiyan aati rahengi.

With Uncivilized Daughters, Abhivyakti has set a standard in itself. And what makes it best is it’s supportive audience. The beauty of using minimalist prop makes the stage all the more attractive and aesthetic in appeal.

The show was absolutely house full and not even an inch of space was spared. The audience left no stone unturned to encourage the team. The theatre was a jam packed business.

The cast includes: Malvika Singh Arsh Dadwal Rashi Sharma Shivani Behl Mrinal Yadav Chaitali Pant Urjita Manan Bharadwaj Shikha Dimri Prakriti Anand Mariyam Sara Vrinda Sehgal

On the instruments: Sampurna Dutta (tabla) Rashi Sharma (violin) Shivani Behl (djembe) Shriya Tandon (harmonium)

Sounds: Priyali Dhingra Lights: Garima Lunia

Written and guided by: Kuldeep Kunal

Directed by: Sana Thapa