LitSoc Dramatics got off to an expectedly sleepy start on Saturday Morning at 9. Wait, at 10. No, at 11. It was actually quarter past 11 when Tapti took stage. The intervening time was passed with private screenings of the short films and fruitful utilization of CLT’s air-conditioning by the very sparse crowd. The crowd response to Drams even on Sunday evening was extremely poor in spite of most of the hostels coming up with fairly good (some pretty awesome) performances.
Tapti performed ‘Art’, a French play by Yasmine Reza (translated by Christopher Hampton). An absolutely delightful script, it explored how a motley group of friends had grown apart and how differences were beginning to surface, precipitated by the purchase of a 300,000 franc white painting on a white background by one of the friends. Even in the absence of Lighter, Tapti put up a tight, well rehearsed performance with 10gb and two freshies (Jerin deserved a mention) neatly pulling it off.. It was the lack of that extra spark, that bit of “slap you in the face” acting that perhaps cost Tapti a place.
This was followed by Pampa who decided to make up for Tapti getting better and presented an absolutely hilarious sketch from Black Adder Goes Forth. Though the Pampa second years especially Raunaq ‘Q’ Sahu deserve credit for giving it a shot they still have a long way to go. The lack of experience showed and altogether it made for an absolute laugh riot of a play for not quite the right reasons. They can only go up from here.
They were followed by Alak who made the controversial decision to perform ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett. The 5 member cast included Coco D (Vladimir) and Slicer (Estragon).The highly abstract play was never going to appeal to the audience especially without outstanding actors backing it up. Though Alak managed to do a decent job, there was just no zing and most of the audience’ attention drifted away except for a moment when Vladimir (Coco D) got completely thrown off by a “Go Coco” hoot from the audience. The perpetrator on interrogation claimed to have done it ‘unintentionally’.
The last performance of the day was the best, with Mandak (for a change) pulling off a tragedy, “The Death of a Salesman”. This play which follows the demise of an old man (Macho) in the twilight of his life as it crumbles around him. With his moving performance that earned him the tag “Best Actor”, Macho held up the entire play. He brought out the fear, the false hope and anguish in the character of Willy. Though quite of the support cast were a bit shaky, the play was quite moving and quite deservingly went on to place 3rd. Mention also needs to be made of Sabnam (freshie) who was impressive in patches as Willy’s wife.
Day 2 began an hour late because of a few erm… “mistakes” and starting off the day were Ganga. Ganga decided to do sketches from Julius Caesar, Monty Python and the Zoo Story and hold it together by what they called ‘improvisation’. There were a few instances where actors stood around on stage looking foolish, but no one knows if that was intentional or just lines being forgotten. The performances were good at points, but mostly mediocre.
Sharav was next, with a performance of ‘The Apple’, a comedy about the Art world and its foibles. A well chosen and refreshingly different script was backed up by some solid performances. Special mention must be made of Rihan (who played an emotional art lover) and Vaaruni (who played a very awesome Elvis). All in all, a well deserved fourth place.
Following up Sharav was Narmad’s three-man “Shock of Recognition” (a sketch by Robert Anderson) which earned them joint fourth place. The hilarious script was backed by solid acting from the actors (SDK, CC and Sample), and we’re all glad no one in the audience had to experience a “shock of recognition”.
Then came the two big performances of LitSoc Drams with Jam’s “Romance” followed by Saras’ adaptation of the movie ‘Shakespeare in Love’. Jam’s performance was carried off by one couple. One couple who had an adorable hug on stage. One man and one woman. Mistake and Abacus. Especially Abacus as the pretty, fragile, sensitive and completely gay Bernard got the crowd going. Mistake matched his high standards as the judge. Thought the rest of the cast excepting Vada were shaky in bits they managed to pull off a quite challenging script and had the audience in splits throughout.
There was one word to describe Saras – professional. Right from costumes to lights to music to the rendering of the complicated lines every motion had been practiced to perfection. Though the frequent set changes killed the mood a bit and the serious subject seemed to put off some of the audience it was damn fine theatre. Saras also had an adorable couple, though about their sexual orientations we are not sure. Lollipop as Shakespeare and Uttara as Viola stole the show with their piercing lovelorn stares and laments and their adorable ‘lights out’s. Further every member of the fairly large cast pulled off his/her role ably. Though it was difficult to choose between the two (even the judges were split in their decision), in the end it was Jam that walked off with top honours with Saras coming a very close second.
The last play of the night was Godav’s. It was an attempt at repeating their success of yesteryears with another large cast comedy. However they were not nearly as good as last year, with the absence of someone like Kedar at the helm showing. Sayash also chose to stay off the stage and it was left to Tehelka and their motley bunch to pull it off. Being a script which required strong and loud performances to really make an impact, Godav’s performance fell a bit flat.
Overall, the standard of Dramatics in insti does not seem to have taken much of a hit as was feared with some of the best talent passing out. Several new talents have emerged and, some of the new ‘old’ ones showed us that they still have it in them and the scene looks quite promising with most of the plays being up to the mark. However it was disheartening to see that CLT was not even close to full even on the second evening.