Festival Flashback

Dive into the Dramanagari

You may have quite a few special memories pinned down in your December 2017 calendar what with Christmas and New Year’s practically nudging each other. But for a close-knit bunch of under 25 theatrewallahs, their Thespo week surely takes the cake.

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If you had the chance to drop by our office a week before the festival, you would probably have been greeted by a sight of people shouting, printouts being taken, sheets being passed, mails being sent, inventory being checked, food being ordered, puns being cracked and if we had a second, us taking a breath. We had a humbling response of 180 registrations from over 17 cities in 13 different languages for our screenings earlier in the year and we had taken it upon ourselves to try and give as much as we can to encourage youth theatre with the festival. Keeping true to our word, the workshops this year included the backstage and made its way past the light and sound booth and onto the stage with facilitators hailing from Brazil, Scotland, Greece and USA. You could hear infectious laughter all the way from the Prithvi Adda, home to our newest venture Great Text Readings or hear the ‘wow’s’ and ‘oohs’ from the guests over at our merchandise stall and if you were lucky, you would have bumped into some of the theatre favourites.

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Each performance this year payed homage to many different forms of theatre, yet the one cord that held them in the same light was the creative use of performance space. The Prithvi house was not just abuzz with the workshops but the fringe performances as well. Each piece pushed past the four wall boundary of the room and treated the audience to new experiences. Two fringe pieces culminated from our workshops namely Esteban’s Village– a first of its kind, online piece and This World that crosses you– another first with its immersive audience experience. The other fringe performances were taken over by Draupadi, a powerful piece by a strong set of women from Bangalore and A man in three acts with three different stories hailing from Bombay and Delhi. The platforms also didn’t fail to surprise. The space in front of the theatre was ablaze – literally with a fire act in Krishna Ki Chetaavani, an unexpected balcony appearance in Khazaana, the deafening silence of the mime piece The Rescue or the street play energy of Check Up! and TripT with their crazy enthusiasm and even crazier melodies.

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Every moment at the festival is crackling with the magic, that is theatre, and you can’t help but be charmed.

In the evenings, you would have found yourself swaying to the live bands right from Jibroo, a group formed in a rehearsal room, jamming and jostling with the crew, Adayegi and Kaif making us travel into a world of shayari’s and stories and our first acapella band, the aca-awesome Notes Gothilla.

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Thespo is so much more than a festival and it means a hundred different things to each and every one of us whether it is the crew or the participants or even the alumni. Yet in the feeling that is Thespo, the one thing that remains constant is the respect for the Prithvi stage. Our favourite moment was when the play team walked into the theatre for the first time, their eyes depicting what their words could not. Mrig-Trishna, the team from Delhi , won all our hearts with their unwavering enthusiasm for their play and other plays alike.  The team of Main, Mera Bajaa, Aur Woh -a complete laugh out loud piece was so keen to learn how the theatre functions. Trikon ka Chautha Kon? didn’t leave any corner untouched with their ensemble covering the stage in unique formations. And the humbleness and simplicity of Khataara, our first team from Ahmednagar, left us all floored and the only words coming out were thank you.

It’s true that Prithvi weaves its own vibe and we could see it coursing through their veins.

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So basically, if you ever find yourself between a group of crazed looking people in coordinated  T-shirts coordinating events, sipping chai, ushering, fighting, making up, sharing food, breaking out into random songs and dance and seem like they breathe and live theatre, then don’t worry, Thespo’s got you!

 – Reema Sunil

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