Every weekend, you do the usual movies-and-pub routine. This weekend, why not hop across town to watch some innovative plays and dance productions, attend stand-up sessions, and take your pick from workshops — as varied as Bharatanatyam, salsa and pencil sketching.
What makes this one different? This is a platform for you and me — regular people, not professional performers —who may have painted, danced or acted in school, but gave up thereafter.
This is YouTheatre, an arts festival initiated by theatreperson Divya Palat to showcase untapped talent, and now in its second year. The concept is inspired by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a month-long arts festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Over three days, it will be held at seven venues, as unconventional as a PizzaExpress outlet, to as serious as the Experimental Theatre, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.
“Despite being talented, once a person enters the corporate world, they stop focusing on performing arts. So, this year, we’re targeting working professionals, and there will be performances by 12 groups,” says Palat.
Art with a heart
20% of the proceeds from YouTheatre will go to charity. The organisations being supported are the Aawhan Palak Sangh (works with mentally challenged girls); the Indian Association for the Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare and the tribals of Jawahar. Students from the Hamara Footpath pavement school will perform as well.
* Black comedy by amateur actors: Tax Free
Based on a Marathi one-act play by the same name, Tax Free explores what happens when blindness strikes people midlife. This Hindi black comedy delves on how four such people form a club to swap stories. The play will be staged by Fir Se Productions, which was formed in 2013 by a group of corporate executives, who rehearse over weekends. "We used to perform during our college days and were passionate about theatre; hence, we formed the group. Since it's an old script, we tweaked it to make it contemporary," says co-founder Ajay Simha.
On: September 12, 3pm to 4pm | Where: Little Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
* Alt rock performance with Sanskrit shlokas: Aankh Micholi
Aankh Micholi is a four-piece folk/fusion alternative rock band that includes Indian regional sounds and Sanskrit shlokas in their compositions. The band members include vocalist Osho Jain, multi-instrumentalist Pankaj Pathe, bassist Hansel Dias and drummer Bharat Chandore, all of whom are students of the True School of Music.
Jain says, “We’re in search of uncommon sounds; particularly those that should reach more people but hasn’t. We incorporate folk lyrics with our music. We are trying to promote our languages and culture.”
On: September 11, 7pm to 8pm True School of Music, Lower Parel
* Classical dance meets rock music: Shiva-Urja
This performance depicts the various manifestations of Shiva and his cosmic energy, through an amalgamation of Bharatanatyam and kathak. What’s different? It moves away from classical music, and will have contemporary rock music instead. It features performers from the Nrityangan Academy of Fine Arts, Santacruz, and the Natraj Gopi Krishna Kathak Dance Academy, Khar.
“We want to make classical dance interesting. That’s why we fused the dances together and have rock music. We have incorporated some contemporary movements as well,” says Anuja Samant, senior most student at Nrityangan.
On: September 11, 8pm to 9pm Little Theatre, NCPA
YouTheatre will take place from September 11 to 13. For the full schedule, visit youtheatre.in. Tickets on bookmyshow.com
(The writer tweets as @SomaRKDas )