Variety was the flavour of the evening at the finals of the third annual Hindustan Times-NCPA Stage Right theatre competition.
The inter-school event was held at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on Thursday and saw eight schools compete for top prizes.
As the kids laughed, cried and expressed a plethora of emotions, there wasn’t a bored face in the audience of students, families and teachers from the competing schools — or on the panel of judges, comprising theatre actors Rasika Agashe and Abhishek Saha and theatre producer Niloufer Sagar.
Eventually, Children’s Academy, Malad, won first prize with a play called The Man Who Wanted to Fly, on the importance of love and memories. The drama was staged by kids aged 12 to 15.
“We considered many themes and finally decided on this one. The kids worked hard and they truly deserve this award,” said drama teacher Bharat More, who also directed the play.
A Mother A Teacher, A Teacher A mother, performed by Campion School, Fort, took home second prize with its moving message of a teacher’s place in a person’s life being almost as important as a mother’s.
Third prize went to Two Like-Minded Geniuses, staged by Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School, Vile Parle, which showed a young girl discovering her own worth through Albert Einstein’s theories.
Zahaan Hoosein from Campion, who played the inspiring teacher Mrs Thomson, won Best Actor (Male); Arzoo Das from Pawar Public School, Bhandup, won Best Actor (Female) for her role as the mother in The Attic, a futuristic take on the mother-daughter relationship. Swastik Shetty from New Horizon Public School, Airoli, won Most Promising Talent for his role as a king in the play Nosy Parker. His comic timing was appreciated.
“The way all the plays gave importance to human bonding in this age of technological dominance was very impressive,” said Agashe. “The kids have a lot of potential to give back to the theatre world,” added Sagar.
Saha pointed out that the children were lucky to have an opportunity to perform on such a prestigious professional stage. “If today’s evening can give us some future actors, directors or other talents, we have done our duty,” he added with a smile.
A total of 85 schools from across Greater Mumbai participated in the Stage Right competition, across its three rounds, this year. Each started out by submitting a 20-minute DVD of the play they would perform.
A panel of judges from within the NCPA selected 18 teams for the semi-finals. Those 18 competed over two days and eight were selected for the final round.
The final eight were Avalon Heights International School, Vashi; Delhi Public School, Nerul; Pawar Public School, Bhandup; New Horizon Public School, Airoli; Chatrabhuj Narsee Memorial School (ICSE), Vile Parle; Campion School, Fort; St Mary’s School (ICSE), Mazgaon; and Children’s Academy, Malad.
“I liked the fact that all the plays were very different from each other but each equally impressive. We had great fun watching them all,” added Raghav Mangrulkar, a Class 8 student from Campion who was in the audience.