Stella’s Silent Storm
Uma Madhu, II Year B.A. English.
In conversation with Rasika (President), and Princy (Secretary) of the Mime And Street Theatre Club on what binds the Stella Mummers.
There’s black. There’s white. There’s music. Dipping and swaying, lifting and cartwheeling, arms and body and expressions voicing wordless stories. The Mime And Street Theatre Club celebrates uniqueness, bringing life to alternative forms of theatre. Rasika and Princy, the President and Secretary of the club respectively, belonging to IIIrd Year Botany, talk about how the club works, and what makes the work rewarding.
The Mime Club has staged four performances this academic year within college, for various occasions, including the Freshers’ Orientation and the College Christmas Celebrations. The office bearers explained that the script and choreography are spun out from a central theme which depends upon the occasion for the performance. The club’s President explained that the year’s focus will mainly be on providing workshops to the members, particularly workshops for Kattaikoothu, which a dying indigenous form of Street Theatre. “We also plan to stage a Kattaikoothu performance for the Pongal Celebrations within college, and we hope to perform on College Day too. Other than that, the club is engaged in culturals and intercollegiate events across the city,” she said.
A unique feature of the club is that it requires no prior knowledge or experience in Mime or Street Theatre for entry. “No auditions are held. We choose the people who volunteer to be in the performances. Although we have a set team comprising of Second and Third Years, interest is all we look for. The rest you acquire as a part of the club,” says Rasika.
Adding to this, the club Secretary explained that this allowed more people to join, and appreciate Mime and Street Theatre as art forms. “I myself joined out of interest in acting, and I found this an excellent platform to display and develop my skills, especially since we have to convey a message with neither props nor dialogues.” Besides this, she also explained that the guidance provided by their faculty advisor Dr. Priya Mary George from the Social Work Department, and their trainer Mrs. Divya, an alumnae of the Public Relations Department, went a long way in honing their skills and enhancing the quality of their performances.
But this is not all that the club has to offer.
“Trust is the most important part of our performance. Especially when it relies on lifts, jumps and gestures, we need to trust our team. Only then can we work,” Rasika explained. “We aren’t a large group, but we’re a close knit one. Our rigorous practice sessions and performances forge a very special bond among us. It’s more than friendship, its family.”
A few club members spoke about how the club helped them grow as individuals. “I am so much more confident than I used to be. The seniors are kind and friendly, helping us learn and grow. Being part of the club is a growing experience, it changed my college life,” remarks Pragathi, who belongs to IInd Year Chemistry, when asked about her experiences as a member. “The workshops and practices were so much fun, and I hope that we perform and grow even more as a club,” she said, revealing her high hopes for the remaining part of the year.
Jemima of IIIrd Year Mathematics also spoke of how the Club shaped and changed her as a person. “I learnt to express emotions to the fullest, hence becoming comfortable in my own skin. It helped me discover a lot of untapped potential within me. The best part of mime is the power to make an audience feel all sorts of emotions with just gestures and music.”
Growing stronger and more vibrant with every performance, and growing together as a family, the Mime Club is a beautiful experience, both for the audience, and their members. In fact, everyone we spoke to in writing this article had one thing to say in common. “The club was the best decision we’d made in our college life. It changed everything for the better.”
[Photo Source: The Stella Mummers Facebook Page]