In a world of fantasy
DIWAN SINGH BAJELI
A two-day theatre festival organised by Chilsag Chillies presented innovative plays.
AMUSEMENT GALORE Director Sachin Gupta's plays brought a smile to the audience in New Delhi.
The two-day theatre festival organised by Chilsag Chillies Theatre at the LTG auditorium ended this past week. On the concluding evening four short plays were mounted which were marked by thematic variety and innovative modes of expression.
All the pieces are written and directed by Sachin Gupta who has been able to bring the best out of his cast. Some of his characters live in a fantasy world as a relief from a miserable life with little hope of redemption. He has used some old world film songs in the backstage to provide the right ambience for the action. His theatre amuses you, provokes, disturbs and awakens your conscience to fight collectively against inhuman acts like ragging. Austerity of presentation is another highlight of his theatre. All these elements invest his theatre with contemporary appeal.
"No Cheating Today" is the opening piece which is a comic exposure of the menace of copying in the examination. A teacher who claims to have written a book about the ways of stopping cheating is confident that under his supervision there will be no room for examinees to cheat. The students have their own tactics to outsmart their teacher who is forced to face defeat. However, the teacher has the last laugh. Nitin's caricature of the professor is amusing. His awkward movements, his Hindi accent and the element of romance in his life make him an effective comic actor.
"Next Indian Idol" revolves round the fantasy world of a mentally retarded boy and his girlfriend. He visualises that judges in desperate search for an Indian Idol meet him and seem to have been impressed with him. As they watch his performance, their faces brighten up with their new discovery.Prateek as the boy who has seemingly impressed the judges evoke laugher but these funny moments are tinged with sadness.
"In Devil's Carnival", the playwright depicts the miserable world of beggars. Dressed in rags, they are treated as the scum of the earth by men in authority. These pathetic creatures suddenly find themselves in a world of glamour, a world inhabited by beautiful girls and boys in colourful dress, dancing to celebrate youth. Choreographic patterns present eye-catching spectacles. However, the world of beggars is projected in a sketchy manner. The director has given much space to dance sequences which gives the impression that instead of watching a serious drama we are being entertained by dance numbers.
The concluding play is "Suicide Is Painless" which captures the traumatised life of a victim of ragging. The opening sequence sparkles with excitement. Students who are fortunate to get admission to a college, are dreaming of a new life full of promises. They want to involve themselves in cultural activities as well as sincerely pursue knowledge. The first day in the college leaves them cold. One of the bright students is spotted by the bullies. These cruel fellows insult him and beat him up mercilessly. The victim and his friend are shocked to find that the bullies and the college principal are working hand in glove to torment brilliant students.The play moves towards the inevitable catastrophe. In the final sequence it takes a satirical tone, commenting severely on the ragging practice, giving a call to unite against the criminalisation of educational institutions in the name of ragging. Ashish creates a convincing portrait of a brilliant student who is reduced to a mental wreck.
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