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Paanchti Chinir Daana

It was a packed house at Vidya Mandir on November 19 and 20 with some even standing behind the last row to catch the action on stage. The performers were no theatre veterans but school and college students. The occasion was the Vodafone Odeon Youth Drama Festival, curated by the youth theatre society Shriek of Silence, that kick-started the Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival, partnered by t2.

The Vodafone Odeon Theatre Festival, which provides a platform to theatre groups from across the country, decided to give part of the stage to young artistes in their 12th edition. Around 15 theatre groups from various schools and colleges, including St. James’ School, Apeejay School, Park Street, Asutosh College, Scottish Church College, NSHM Institute of Media and Communication, Jadavpur University and Bhawanipur Education Society, performed at the two-day youth drama festival.

Language was no barrier as the audience enjoyed diverse themes and energetic performances of the youngsters. Themes like “Happy to Help”, “Fair is Foul, Foul is Fair” and “You and I” were given to the groups a month ahead of the festival. While Vartalaap of Errors staged by NSHM Institute of Media and Communication had the audience in splits, the mad man in Swapner Khoj put up by Sanskrit College left them teary-eyed. Vartalaap... revolves around Pramod, a man who hails from Bihar and is visiting his sister in Calcutta. The story is about his struggle to reach his destination because of the communication barrier. Kartikey Tripathi as Pramod was adjudged the best actor. Swapner Khoj focuses on how our materialistic lives have snatched our dreams. But a pagol (mad man), the only one who did not let his dreams leave his side, shows the path to happiness to the rest.

Theatre lovers savoured the flair and elegance of A Question of Existing, a realistic play staged by a group from Scottish Church College, doing justice to their theme, “You and I”. It was about the journey of a man through life, involving various characters like his parents and friends and showed how commonplace events and day-to-day chatter don’t really count life when a question arises about his own existence. The play was appreciated by all and clinched the first position for best script and second position for best production.

A team from Jadavpur University won the Vodafone Odeon Youth Drama Festival, bagging a chance to attend a three-month workshop with Calcutta-based theatre group Blank Verse. Their play, Paanchti Chinir Daana, about the personal journey of a young man from a small town in India, touched many hearts.

Among schools, a group from St. James’ stole the show. Going back to the characters of Macbeth with a blend of modernity they staged Lady Macbeth Sire and grabbed the winner’s trophy for best production by a school.