Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Long Time, too much see

Two months full of theatre!!
Not as great as I make it sound, but quite good really.
Bad part first.
I rejoined college, not really on academic merit but the teachers really pushed for my Management Quota admissions owning to previous inter-collegiate achievements and shizz. That's mostly theatre. And it also meant doing the Mumbai University Youth Festival and doing around 10 events. (Wrote for three of and 2 had a mob role but still). It was a mix of absolute hell and heaven.
Of course it's the best place to be - from 8 in the morning to 11 in the night - amongst a bunch of enthusiastic peer-group theatremakers. But then it's also a lot of regressive plays. Not very proud of having been a part of them. Oh well.

I watched a lot of plays. Ila, mainly. A very important play that people need to watch. (Can actually think of so many I would insist should watch it). Ila is a play about gender roles and gender bending essentially but it also ends up passing a comment on so much else. Plus, it's hilarious. Special points to Pooja Sarup and the effortless comedy on stage.
Unfortunately, Ila preaches to the choir. I know at what point the audience is going to laugh or nod their heads in agreement because they are already liberated minds (most of them, I'm guessing). The play gives you the kind of smile you have on your face when your partner in a debate competition is making good points, but not more than that.
The other ensemble I immediately followed it up with was Ishq Aaha. The play is a hub of some very creative and talented people in the fraternity. It's a havoc on stage and "Sharararara Jageera" stayed on my mind for a good couple weeks after all. But the play wasn't for me. It must be a lovely experience of others perhaps, but I was exhausted from the four acts and the singing and dancing and Punjabi accents. The length of the play didn't help either.

I-Day came and went with some excellent fresh performances from the juniors in the team. I won a Poetry Slam in college, did some Umang events. Shruti Sridharan gave us some valuable time for her animated feedback and that was great déjà vu. Meanwhile, the skit I wrote and co-created for the MUYF failed miserably at the Elimination Round.

It rose out of the frustration of having to do an incredibly sexist one act play. Teammate Shraddha Patil came up with the idea and it immediately clicked. The skit was christened 'Hum Hass Kyun Rahe Hai' and commented on how disgusting some of our sources for comedy were - eve-teasing, sexism, homophobia and transphobia, unnecessary abuses and double entendre and now of course, Rape. While a remark of the general state of the entertainment industry, it was also a sharp jab at the Mumbai University Youth Festival. For the four years that I've seen the Skit finals, they have been full of such shit. It is even a formula for success at times. The skit was performed by six energetic young girl who delivered well right on spot. Not qualifying for the finals (especially when our sexist one-act did) was a major disappointment.
The finals are on the 30th. Whether other skits were just better than ours, whether the judges found the issue irrelevant or whether it hit too close home is to be discovered then.

Pretty much everything I saw at the MUYF finals was crap. And I'm not saying it in a conceited, I-am-better-than-everyone-else way. It was more like "Shit, people still this way in 2016?"

Almost when I had forced myself to accept the fact that Faezeh Jalali's 7/7/7 had spoilt me and nothing could ever match up to it, came Arghya Lahiri's Wildtrack. It's a play I've been hearing about for close to eight months. I was even dying to work on it for a long time. The play kept getting pushed but that's okay, because now I know why. Whatever that came out of it was so wonderful, it was actually worth an even longer wait.
This one had been shortlisted for the Hindu Playwright Award. While a little confusing at first, the yarn unravels to create what can only be called absolute magic on stage. The actors are brilliant and I was only watching them perform for the first time, but what takes the cake is the soundtrack. The audience all seemed to share my feeling. The play was neither hilarious, nor dramatic, it was just too damn real. I haven't felt these extremes of warm, fuzzly and devasted all at the same time in a long long while.

The month ahead, I finally start attending the college that I have joined. I'm very excited for Subak's Amar Photo Studio, what with the great online campaign and all. I also ended up watching three great Marathi plays, will write about them soon. Not much to do otherwise, so I can hopefully watch a lot of plays (if I figure out how to pay for them).

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