Read on to find out about the gem LSR’s Dramatics Society has created and why it is a play we must all go to see.

The Dramatics Society of Lady Shri Ram College has created a marvel in their street play, crushing the myths against people with disabilities, called Today’s Special. It takes you through a roller-coaster with its stellar acting, splendid music and inspiring story. In a few minutes it is able to encapsulate so many aspects of a person with disability’s struggle and how we as individuals have not just refused to acknowledge this, but also worsened it by humoring their hardships.

The play starts with a girl getting ready for a race, only for situations to reveal how she suffers from a problem in her leg, as the audiences’ reaction changes to silence, it clearly shows how in our daily life reactions are not much different. Why should she be seen different? Is a question that arises in our minds and continues when in the next breath the play depicts how in a school, little children draw people with disabilities as monsters, and not heroes.

The connotations attached to the people with disability do not end at ‘different’ but are also ‘villainized’. These negative connotations are not reinforced by strangers but also by their blood. One such scene shows how the sister of a person with disability, embarrassed by her sibling, locks him in a room on her birthday party to not be seen by anyone.

LSR’s play also talks about the provisions for people with disability. They show the seemingly negligible percentage of reservations in jobs, the constant running from one place to another due to the absence of infrastructural facilities and the pressure put by school authorities to put their children in ‘special’ schools. This brings forth the third connotation attached to the people with disability : they are ‘special’ or devyang. The question of whether these people should be put on a pedestal, whether they should be inspirational or godly is purely subjective and debatable.

Keeping in mind even their daily struggles are far greater and incomparable than what abled people must go through, their lives and endurance does become an inspiration for all of us. But for some, the idea of being ‘different’ could arouse feelings of isolation and alienation. Do they want to be seen as different? Do they want for no distinctions to exist? Do they want their struggles to be reflected in its true essence? Subjectivity arises in the spaces between these questions. More than our opinion, what matters is their own and for us to respect those.

Their sublime music also stands out in course of their play. The play takes a dig at the song “Ladki Aankh Maare” for its “Tusshar Kapoor ki awaaz mei..” which instantly puts light on the internalised and covert discrimination we are all guilty of. Whether or not we danced to this song since it came out or liked Tusshar Kapoor’s character in Golmaal, how many of us realised the grave insensitivity both carried? Or how we have laughed at Rani Mukherjee’s dialogue in the film, Black, “mujhe lagta hai baarish hone wali hai..”.

Today’s Special ends on a powerful and beautifully written aspect of sex and dating life of the people with disability. In a heart wrenching scene, it depicts the sexual assault of a girl on a wheelchair by her caretaker and misunderstands this as love. The thoughtless and insensitive comments and questions on the technicalities of sex by abled people to the people with disability is a scene which accurately depicts how sex has been made a taboo. While the last scene shows how a girl with a disability meets someone who brings her out of guilt and embarrassment, the audience is left with several thoughts of self-reflection.

LSR’s play is a movement. Authorities, film makers and we as individuals have failed the people with disability on several levels. Beyond a few tokenistic measures and facilities no tangible step towards their lives have been truly made. Shonali Boses’ “Margarita with a Straw” is one of the few gems which speaks their story and the possibilities of self-discovery, romance and so much more. But even though such films win awards, it fails to win hearts at the Box Office and thus remains few.

At an important time like this, where political parties are demanding votes, we should demand a change. Better facilities and infrastructure for the people with disability at schools, colleges, universities and other buildings, genuine and apt reservations at offices and other places, better laws are some ideas which can become a starting point in this journey.  As a society, we need a change of thinking and mindset. Emotions of shame, guilt or embarrassment should not be attached to the individual or his or her disability or their families. Now as for ourselves, we need to reflect on our actions towards the people with disability.  The ability to overlook the larger picture and simply laugh along comes from a place of privilege. While we have no control over how we are born, what we make of ourselves is what speaks volumes. And therefore, it becomes our prerogative to stand with the people with disability and to bring some sensitivity- that person may not be your sister or brother, mother or father, but is an individual in and of themselves and deserves this respect.


Feature Image Credits: Shivani Dadhwal for DU Beat.

Shivani Dadhwal

[email protected]

‘I finally got my degree!’, exclaimed actress Minissha Lamba while receiving a copy of her admission form, as she visited Miranda House along with Saif Hassan to discuss their play Mirror Mirror.

It was a sunny afternoon in the calm and ambient campus of Miranda House. The Heritage Hall of the college started to get filled by the evening. The reason for this crowd was a Master Class, a series of talks and discussions by Saif Hyder Hassan and Minissha Lamba, the director and lead actress of the play Mirror Mirror which will soon have an exclusive performance out here in Miranda House.

mhevent-1-2 (1)

The idea was that both Hassan and Lamba would attend the event together but the actress missed her flight so she made an appearance about an hour later. The principal gleefully recalled how in Minissha, an alumnus of the same college used to bunk or attend classes late. One can say that some things never change. The discussion was initiated with Saif Hassan who talked in great detail about failures that life gives us and how we need to face them, citing several personal examples. He talked about how while growing up, subjects like mathematics were his Kryptonite and how his father used to consider him a ‘dramebaaz’ (the dramatic one), which ironically, he went on to become in the future.  Casually dressed in an orange tee, he went on to utter snippets of wisdom that he has picked up like ‘Being critical is good. Being over critical is plain stupid’ and ‘Don’t take anybody seriously except…yourself.’


All heads were turned towards the door on the right when Minissha made an entry. She walked up to the stage with grace and laughingly apologised for her late appearance. She talked about her journey as an actress, the high and lows that performers have to face and how there are different thrills for getting to act on stage as well as the screen. An interesting aspect of acting she pointed out was that not all actors need to be exactly like their characters, just paint a realistic and believable picture. The very essence of acting is for the actor ‘to act’ like someone making the audience feel that the actor and the someone is one or the same thing.  To take a trip down memory lane, the principal also gave Minissha a printout of her original admission form. The funny thing was at first glance, Minissha thought this is her college degree (even though she left the college in the middle of her course back in the day) and yelled out ‘OH! I’M FINALLY GETTING MY DEGREE!’. This resulted in a roar of laughter in the hall.



A lot of people amongst the crowd were drama enthusiasts or members of the theatre society so naturally the concept of on-stage acting was also heavily discussed. Saif felt that there is a misconception that theatre is eroding. He added that in fact, cities like Delhi have given birth to diverse and modern concepts that can be portrayed on stage. ‘Theatre is the new romance. Right now, things seem to be good, it is like theatre is having a honeymoon phase.’ All in all, it was an amusing event for enthusiasts of creativity and this has just set the ground for the ‘Mirror Mirror’ that is to be held at the auditorium tomorrow.

Image Credits – Aakarsh Gupta and Adithya Khanna for DU Beat.

Shaurya Singh Thapa 

[email protected] 


Alerting all theatre groups and dramatics societies! Here is an opportunity to display your talent on a platform that caters to a bigger cause!

Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Centre (www.kalamcentre.org) announces the National E-Street Play Championship, a one-of-a-kind initiative that aims to involve the youth in raising awareness about issues that can transform our country into a superpower.

In the first phase, the street theatre groups and dramatics societies will submit video entries online on any one of the following three themes:

  • Water as a crisis in India
  • Increasing the green cover
  • Extraterrestrial life

The shortlisted teams will perform at a prime location in Delhi in front of an audience of celebrities and citizens. Lastly, the basis of the first round of evaluation and online reach of the videos, one team from each category will win the National Championship Trophy from an esteemed panel of Judges at the Kalam Liveable Planet Conclave, which will include public figures, celebrities, and the notable board members of Kalam Centre. Previous guests have included eminent personalities like Dr Kailash Satyarthi (Nobel Laureate), Ms Dia Mirza (Actor), Ms Kiran Bedi  (Retired Indian Police Service Officer), and Shri Anand Kumar (Founder, Super 30).

How to participate:

The videos should be in .mp4 format in either of the following forms:

  1. Short Skit (2-5 minutes)
  2. Full-length Street Play ( 5-12 minutes)
  • The last date for filling the form and submitting the video is 5th July 2018.
  • Registration is free of cost


Apply now to make a difference!


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]]]>

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts”

These famous lines from one of Shakespeare’s brilliant pastoral comedy, As You Like It, has become the beacon of hope for many in their existential bouts. The magical world of theatre had transformed how those before our time lived their lives and continues to inspire the generations to come.
This world theatre day, we celebrate all those who have contributed to the dynamic field of theatre and pursue to do so all around the world and, more close to home, in the University of Delhi (DU) circuit. Before we jump into the vibrant world of DU theatre circuit, a small introduction to where it all started.

We can thank the small country of Greece for being the birthplace of one of the world’s oldest art forms, theatre. Incepted in ancient Greece, this 5000year-old art form is a result of ceremonial and ritualistic practices that took place in the everyday lives of ancient Greeks. Interestingly enough the term theatre existed, but not as a separate entity. It was a constituent of an already existing culture of performance that included ritualistic practices, music, politics, poetry, weddings, funerals, and many more such activities which were a part of Greeks lifestyle. Participation in such theatrical practices was not considered recreational, but rather necessary for citizenship and to assert one’s existence as an active member of society.

Oh! how the artists of our era would kill for their performance to be mandatory, but nevertheless, despite all the struggle and starvation, we are blessed to bear witness to their brilliant pieces of work. Be it nukkad or stage productions, the talented dramatics societies of Delhi University never disappoint. The beat of the drum announcing their arrival in college has become a familiar resonance. You know when you hear ‘YAY YAY DRAMSOC’ there’s a special treat in store for you. The culture of performance is used conscientiously to highlight the socio-cultural problems of our society. It elucidates serious issues and comedic adaptations alike. Social evils like body shaming, rape culture, bullying, caste struggle, etc are covered along with dramatic adaptations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth or William Congreve’s restoration comedy, The Way of the World.
Theatre has never been restricted to the stage and over the years, DU’s theatre circuit has evolved into a platform for social change and activism.
We talked to some of the genius minds behind these theatrical masterpieces to get a better sense of what theatre means to those who create these wonderful performances.

“A play always has layers of social issues. We pick a play with normal setting and then we try to un-layer the characters by working with the undertone,” says Meenal Bhalla, Vice President of Verbum, the English Dramatics Society of Sri Venkateswara College.
“Theatre can transform your life, with respect to the environment of the society and the kind of plays you do. With theatre, you are forced to think about the smallest of things: questions like, ‘How should I treat my mother?’, ‘Is the love behind pedophilia justified?’
It makes you more patient and understanding and opens up your mind to different perspectives, especially when you sit and watch someone else’s production, you see their side of the story and try to connect it to the environment of the society that you live in”, says Meenal.

Over the years, the themes for the productions by Shri Ram College of Commerce’s (SRCC) dramatics society have ranged from sexual abuse, acceptance of the mentally challenged, and the education system. Alaukika, Joint Secretary of SRCC’s DramSoc says, “Theatre started off as a hobby for me, but today with theatre, I feel like my voice can be heard and I actually understand the kind of impact it has on our lives, in the way a character can change your perspective.”

In the last 5 years, Kahkasha, the Hindi dramatics society of Jesus and Mary College has taken up issues like rape, corruption, the treatment towards the juvenile delinquents, and discrimination towards the LGBT community. “Theatre and Kahkasha have been everything to us. All that we have learned in the past three years is through Kahkasha. Acting is secondary, theatre teaches you how to express your emotions and be around people”, says Mallika Dutta, President of Kahkasha. Ananya, Vice President of Troubadours, The theatre society of Jesus and Mary College says, “Theatre attracts people. Live performances create a lot of impacts and you connect with your audience on a greater level. This year, we did a play on matriarchy in a control based society and how a matriarch tends to lose her power if she exerts it in the wrong way.”

Theatre is a culture in itself. It is based on interpretations, analogies, different perspectives, and points of view. It makes you wonder, question, think, criticise, and be. It is an art that lets you be completely free and creates a safe yet vulnerable space around you. It’s really important that we don’t let this art die down, rather create spaces for it to flourish.

We leave you with these pearls of wisdom provided by the drama geeks that walk amongst us. We hope this, if not encourages you to participate, then at least helps you appreciate those who take the pain to entertain and educate us.


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Meher Gill
[email protected]
Muskan Sethi
[email protected]

I had the privilege of watching Dastangoi by Mahmood Farooqui and Danish Hussain for the very first time, some eight or nine years back. It seldom happens after watching a performance that you feel a sense of fulfillment.
The entire performance is etched in my memory, and I remember the performance as if I had just watched it yesterday. This is the power of Dastangoi. One can simply not forget how it transforms you to another realm. Dastangoi is a 13th century Urdu oral storytelling art form that evolved in the 16th century. The art form was at its pinnacle in the 19th century but is said to have died with the death of Mir Baqar Ali in 20th century. It was revived in 2005 by Mahmood Farooqui and has since then garnered a lot of praise, adulation, and admiration. In the Persian language, the word ‘Dastan’ means a tale and the suffix ‘goi’ is added to it. Thus, it translates to “tell a tale”.
I remember when I reached the auditorium, the entire stage was empty except for a cushioned mattress in the centre of the stage. During the entire performance, not even a single property was used to enhance the aesthetics of the performance. Yet, we all were enchanted by the story of ‘Amir Hamza’. I was laughing, crying, and was left at the edge of my seat. Dastangoi evokes the fantasy world where there are tricksters, fairies, princes, sorcerers, kings, slaves and warriors. However, it is still rooted in the reality of today’s times as it also talks about poverty and discrimination.
Since then I have watched other people perform Dastangoi too.

However, none of them have managed to be as successful as this duo in leaving an everlasting impression. Every year, Jashn-e-Rekhta has a Dastangoi performance by different artists. Although they are not quite as impressive, they will certainly leave you with an idea of how great and mesmerising this art form is. A performance that I have not been able to catch up with and is gaining a lot of appreciation is Topi Ki Dastan by Wings Cultural Society. This dastan is based on Topi Shukla by Dr. Rahi Masoom Raza.

If you get a chance to watch them, please do catch up with them. I guarantee you that the entire experience of watching Dastangoi will not be less entertaining than watching a movie in multiplex. You will be left saying “waah” for the nth time at the end of the performance for certain.

Feature Image Credits: Youth Ki Aawaaz

Anukriti Mishra
[email protected]

Vayam started off as the theatre society of Shivaji College, University of Delhi in 2006 when a handful of like-minded and creative students decided to form a dramatics society in their college. The society that was formed on the ideals of unity, togetherness, and creativity, grew bigger and better by each passing year. Gradually, Vayam started making a mark in the DU theatre circuit by winning many laurels and praises. Today, the organisation has ventured into the era of performing arts and boasts of a strong foothold in Mumbai and Delhi with several professional performances under its credit.

With a total of 26 proscenium and street plays based on various social issues that have won many accolades on competitive and non-competitive platforms across India including National School of Drama, National Centre for Performing Arts, Prithvi Theatre, Jana Natya Manch, Kamani, Sirifort, India Habitat Center, Shri Ram Centre, Sahitya Kala Parishad, FICCI Auditorium, Hindi Sahitya Academy (Indore), IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kanpur, IIM-Ahmedabad, and the like, Vayam is constantly growing. The society comprises of a group of hardworking, talented, and driven individuals consisting of actors, directors, scriptwriters, technicians, and working professionals.

This year’s production, ‘The White Saree’, has been a remarkable achievement for our team here at Vayam. It was scripted, designed, and directed by Amit Tiwari. Aishwarya Hasija was the Assistant Director while Damini and Gaurashree were the choreographers for the performance. The play venued at LTG Auditorium on a Sunday evening with a full house, an enthusiastic cast, and an energetic team. The drama unfolded the many glitches of society, including the society’s hunger to influence the decisions of a woman regarding her wishes, needs, and desires. The play chose to express its emotions in the form of a musical dance drama, an amalgamation that awed the audience with a gush of different emotions that could be felt as the play progressed. The central plot was about a woman’s dilemma about her own feelings and her deepest and darkest desires. It cast light upon how women are under obligations of maintaining the supposed ‘dignity’ of the society, thus in the process killing their own progress along with the loss of self-love.

‘The White Saree’ is a production that is bound to challenge viewers’ mindsets and societal norms. It is a play which provokes a series of thoughts on issues such as love, stress, and relationships and how the society inclines to perceive these relationships. The performance of this acclaimed production at LTG Auditorium on Sunday, August 27, 2017 saw a healthy turnout of the audience from different walks of life. The play rendered an extended portrayal of the vicious cycle of societal judgement, regret, depression, and a feeling of self consciousness guided by the convention of the mass. The drama laid emphasis on the many decisions that women have to make each day in the hope that none of them defy the standard of the society. It proceeded to raise relevant issues on sexual orientation, desires, and dreams of a woman that are butchered by the people as the story progresses. The audience could be seen experiencing different emotions of love, compassion, sorrow, and regret throughout the performance. The superlative direction and powerful script kept the audience glued to the scenes on stage. The experienced cast and crew of ‘The White Saree’ delivered a memorable performance which was praised by the viewers, senior team members, and the management alike. Also, Love in Frames was present at the venue to cover the event. In summary, the event turned out to be a success for the organisation as promotion of theatre and social service were well accomplished by the dedicated team of Vayam Performing Arts Society.

Rahul Garg: +91 9873 889 919
Amit Tiwari: +91 9718 358 345
Rahul Saini: +91 9968 997 049

Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

Atelier’s ACT Fest aka Atelier’s Campus Theatre Festival is back with its season 10! The world’s largest Youth Theatre fiesta, this festival has witnessed more than 500 performances in 9 seasons. The Season 10 in 2016-17  is set to showcase the best of Campus Theatre with emphasis on vernacular theatre as well along with unique revived forms like dastangoi and red nose clowning.

The journey

Since its inception in 2007, ACT festival is supported by the Bollywood fraternity: Saurabh Shukla (Kallu Mama fame), Piyush Mishra (Actor and Singer), Gul Panag (Film Actor), Lushin Dubey (Theatre and Film Actor), Vinay Pathak (Film Actor), Danish Hussain (Film Actor) to name a few. The Festival Director, Kuljeet Singh is a theatre and film actor with a popular Hero Motrocorp commercial (Hum Mein Hai Hero) and a cameo in “Rockstar”. His latest film “Margarita With A Straw” received rave reviews.

In Season 10, the ACT Festival (February-March, 2017) will see more than 70 performances, engage 30,000 people directly and the total outreach is around 5,00,000 across four cities: New Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata & Chandigarh through print ads, hoardings, posters, online and radio.

ACT throughout the years

ACT Festival is the most awaited Youth Theatre Festival in India. After 9 seasons, it enjoys the status of world’s largest youth theatre fiesta with participation from pan-India and International college teams. Most of the renowned college theatre groups across India participate in ACT festival.

In 2007, in its year of inception, this festival made a humble beginning with support from theatre fraternity, students, media and practitioners, although there was meagre support from government and corporate sector.

Gradually, it picked up and in 2009, with the third year in continuity, it gained immense momentum, getting support from all walks of life. ACT festival also travelled to Pune, Kolkata and Mumbai in 2010 and 2011.

Important dates and deadlines

Call for Entry: November 10, 2016
Last date to receive entries: December 31, 2016
Line Reading Sessions: January 10-20, 2017
Festival Dates: February-March, 2017

For details shoot a mail to [email protected].

Send your entries to [email protected]
OR SMS at 9891092386/7838281114

Please Note:

You can send as many entries as you wish but use separate forms for each entry.

Registration for the festival OPEN now. Visit www.ateliertheatre.in for more details. Entries close 31st December 2016.

Image credits: Team Atelier

Riya Chhibber

[email protected] 

The Ninth Edition of the Atelier’s Campus Theatre Festival kicked off on the 21st of February 2016. The festival which is scheduled to go on for the next couple of days has already seen a huge response from theatre enthusiasts across Delhi. The festival was inaugurated at the Stein Auditorium in the India Habitat Centre where two plays were staged: St. Stephen’s College’s “Snoop Dogg” and Hindu College’s “Characters Revolt”. Characters Revolt, performed by Ibtida, one of Hindu’s two dramatics societies followed the story of three guys who on the night of their graduation from college, bring home three girls to complete a pact they had once made.

Yet events take place in not quite the manner they expected them to take place in resulting in a series of comical events. “The ACT Festival provided us with perhaps the best and most prestigious platform for performing our production this year. E venue, the equipment all of it was amazing.” Said a member of the Ibtida team. The second play of the night was Snoop Dog, an original script inspired by Manto’s “Dog of Titwal” directed by Ruchi Chaudhury. The socio-political satire on the norm of raging intolerance and jingoistic patriotism won the hearts of everyone in the auditorium.

Festival director Mr. Kuljeet Singh,himself, hailed the team for their brilliant performance bringing the first day of the festival to a fantastic end.

Day 2 of the festival which was to be held at Sri Venkateswara International School, Dwarka saw turns in the schedule. With the jat agitation raging across the streets of Delhi, which followed Delhi Government’s order for schools remaining closed that day, the street theatre performances by three colleges were postponed until further information.

However, the stage theatre festival later that day enthralled the audience at the American Center, New Delhi. The first stage play of the festival was performed by Masque, The English Dramatics Society of Hindu College. The team performed their annual production “Trips” at the American Centre, New Delhi on the 22nd of February.

The play focusing on three hitmen waiting in a room for a stranger to arrive with the simple objective of ending his or her life managed to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear in the entire auditorium till the very last minute. “We were really happy with our performance and were delighted to receive such an amazing response from the audience, Atelier’s has been amazing to us and we hope to be back next year as well”, said Shivish Soni, one of the two directors of the play.   The following day kicked off with much fervour and zeal when the dramatics societies of Lady Sri Ram College, Hansraj and Shaheed Bhagat Singh College took the audience by storm with the staging of their annual productions. LSR’s “Sun! Tu Rehne De” challenged the conventions and notions of the society on Homosexuality and was a mockery of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sexual activities that are “against the order of nature”.  

“Rivayat” by Hansraj was a stand against the ‘Indian democratic-autocracy’ that favours the top. Emulating episodes from the lives of Eklavya, Aurangzeb, The Aryans and Jessica Lal, it emphasized that it was time to become detached from the historical convention of Rivayat.

Hansraj Dramatics Society performing RivayatHansraj Dramatics Society performing ‘Rivayat’, their annual #street production that threw light on how power and authority in any form brings harsh autocracy and can be misused.Our photojournalist Vegh Daswani captured the team performing for Atelier Campus Theatre Fest, yesterday! #NukkadNatak

Posted by DU Beat on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The third street play of the day, “Namaste…Mera Naam Hai Nakli!” was performed by Natuve, the Dramatics society of SBSC, which was a very different take on the issue of open economy. Conceptualized on the lines of Ramayana’s Sita Haran episode, the play delved into the revival of the Indian market and its producers, which is slowly disappearing due to our increased dependence on Chinese goods and products. “All the incidents that were shown in the play were non-fictional, including those which talked about ordinary people.

This may not seem a topic of much importance, as of now, but ten years down the line, this will surely become a very grave social issue. We thought it was imperative to take an effort and spread awareness, before it gets too late.” said a member from Natuve.

The team from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women performed on Day 3 in lieu of their performance on the second day. The team emerged out as the only college not belonging to the Delhi University to perform their annual production “Bezubaan” in the first half of the festival.

The latter half of the day did not disappoint either with Verbum, the Dramatics Society of Sri Venkateswara College staging their production “Veronica’s Room” at the same venue. The play which started off with a girl attempting to help a family by performing a selfless deed took a dark twist leaving the audience confused and captivated as Venky’s plays always do.

As the stage play events move to other venues, Atelier’s can be proud of the fact that both days saw a filled auditorium of 140 to 150 people. “The edition of the festival has seen a wide range, this year. With regard to thematic range, it is more developed, evolved and myriad. And in terms of performance, couple of plays really impressed me like those that were staged on the first day of the festival – one by Hindu, another by Stephen’s, and I am looking forward to a couple of more plays at Akshara Theatre. Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane, LSR’s Nine Parts of Desire and SRCC’s Blithe Spirit seems to be very promising productions.” is what the Director of the festival, Mr. Kuljeet Singh has to say!

Shraman Ghosh
Ayushi Singhal

Sabha, the multilingual dramatics society at St. Stephen’s College, organised its annual four-day theater festival, Dastaan, from the 19th to the 23rd of February. The riot of energy and colour kick-started on the 19th with a performance of ‘Dastaan-e-Bhookh,’ an absurdist play performed by the acclaimed theater group, Third Space Collective. The play is an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s ‘Curse of the Starving Class’ which takes us into the hearts and minds of a squabbling family. The performance was followed by an interactive session with the director, Dhwani Vij, and the cast and crew of the play, who gave us valuable insights into the thought process that went into the making of the play and its minute details.

The second day of Dastaan 2016 saw 12 street play teams from across Delhi battle it out ian a street play competition, ‘Anhad.’ The infectious enthusiasm that the teams exuded kept the audience glued to the circle that forms around the performers in a street play. Addressing several pertinent social issues like medical negligence, freedom of expression and homophobia, the street play teams from various colleges kept the lawns at St.Stephen’s pulsating with energy.

Hansraj Dramatics Society at Dastaan| Image by Vegh Daswani
Hansraj Dramatics Society | Image by Vegh Daswani

The competition was judged by Mr. Nishant Aggarwal from Asmita theater group, and Mr. Anish Singh, both experienced theater personalities, who shared their valuable feedback with the teams. The team from Kalindi College walked away with the first position, with Hindu College coming second and Motilal Nehru College taking third place.

Images by Vegh Daswani for DU Beat 

Dastaan culminated with ‘Bhaasha,’ a multilingual one-act stage play competition that saw participation from 10 colleges across Delhi, over the two days of the competition. From those that delved into the philosophical aspects of human life and its complexities, to some that were sheer entertainment, the plays were an interesting amalgamation of characters, plots and sets.

Images by Snigdha for DU Beat 

Ramjas College secured the prize for the best play for their production ‘Deluxe Hair Cutting Salon,’ with Shivaji College taking second place. Kirorimal College and SGTB Khalsa received special mentions.

Dastaan 2016 concluded with a resounding success, having provided a 4-day feast for theatre aficionados, while simultaneously encouraging theatre at the college level.

Images by Snigdha for DU Beat 

Feature Image Credits: Vegh Daswani by DU Beat!

Abhinaya Harigovind

[email protected]