A Whirlwind of Experiences
Dalia N, III Year B.A. English.
On October 9, 2016, the Edouard Michelin auditorium at the Alliance Française of Madras was buzzing with enthusiasm from the tension and excitement of aspiring thespians from various colleges awaiting their chance in limelight. Five colleges were competing against each other in Theatricals 2016, the theatre fest sponsored by Evam and powered by Stella Maris College.
Following the Semi Finals, five colleges – Anna University, SRM University Kattankulathur, RKM Vivekananda College, SRM Easwari and Srimad Andavan – competed for the title of winner. A short video with all their trailers were played before the performances began.
Lights went out and in the spotlight Anna University, Chennai presented their play “Target,” a comedy. An all-male troupe, “Target” was about four wannabe gangsters. Despite a few negligible mishaps with regard to stage props, they maintained a good connection with their audience.
SRM University Kattankulathur came onto the stage with their “Divinia Comedia,” a parody on Janmashtami combined with issues like dowry, child abuse and corporal punishment. There was a little dissatisfaction over the portrayal of serious social issues like patriarchy and domestic violence.
The troupe from Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda College used familiarity to bond with their audience through their play “Peter”. The plot was about three youngsters from a slum, who in their attempt to woo a girl by learning English to impress her. This group was an all-male troupe as well.
What came up next was something unexpected, for the stage was empty except for two men seated in the centre. They were waiting for the 5A bus. The plot was simple and light hearted but impactful. Even before the audience could react, time traveling was done without much hullabaloo, which made SRM Easwari College of Engineering’s performance elusively beautiful. “Vazhipokkam” left the audience spellbound.
Like a cherry atop the pudding, the fiery troupe from Srimad Andavan Arts and Science College, Tiruchirapalli, left the audience spellbound with their play “Thamizhan”. Their energy created ripples in the silent hall and sent home an important message about the glory of the Tamil language. Done in Tamil, it was a chilling reminder of how one often abandons their mother tongue, completely unaware of its splendour. The group expressed their love for the language, saying, “We are in Tamilnadu and it is a pity that most of us don’t speak in our mother tongue anymore. People often say that Tamil is old but not wise. We wanted to show people that Tamilians had discovered several things even before the colonists started to wonder what they were. We took this theme in hope that someone would realise their mistake and never let Tamil down.” This group presented their play in the form of Therukoothu, a form of traditional Tamil theatre and left the audience stunned and impressed.
The host performance by the Stella Maris Dramatics Club, The Stella Players, won much accolades. Based on the trauma faced by the refugees, their acting left the hall in a suffocating silence, which was followed by a roar of applause from the audience.
Srimad Andavan Arts and Science College won Theatricals 2016 with their power-packed performance. Anna University won the Audience Choice Award. The Best Actor (Female) was from SRM University Kattankulathur and Best Actor (Male) went to both actors from SRM Easwari College of Engineering.
A representative from Christ’s College Bangalore, who was impressed with the manner and impact of Theatricals announced his decision to organise Theatricals at Bangalore in collaboration with Evam in the coming year. When Theatricals 2016 came to an end, more than trophies, people carried home memories, inputs from the eminent judges and valuable experiences.
[Photograph Source: Theatricals Facebook Page]