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And Then There Were Two

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ADA Dramatics held its first production of the odd semester, ‘Tamasha’, on the 12th of September.  Despite a small delay in commencement, the two-play event, held in the AC Seminar Hall, was crowded in a way that students ended up sitting on the stairs of the auditorium as well. This did little to hamper their enthusiasm, and the hall filled with cheers as the lights went out.

IMG_2925The first play of the evening, ‘Do-nar’, quickly set itself up as a light-hearted comedy. The audience was told what to expect right from the start, with the warning, “This play has no message and no plot.” The lack of a discernible story line did not take away from its charm, which was extremely reminiscent of a Bollywood movie, complete with a dance number, dramatic musical scores, and well-timed lighting.  The highlight of the play remained the commendable comedic timing of both the lead actors, who elicited a constant stream of laughter from its patrons despite a few flat jokes. The thing to  be admired is how naturally both the leads transitioned through the jokes.This probably came from the fact that one of the leads, Rahul Pareek also wrote the dialogues of the play. One of the most memorable moments of the play was a rap battle between the two leads that had the audience in splits for the better part of five minutes.  Brownie points must also be given to the sound and light department, who never missed a beat and added to the over-dramatic tempo of the play, making it all the more fun for those watching.

Things took a dismal turn with the next play, “Shades”. This is perhaps the highest form of praise the play can receive as it struggled with pacing problems. The play was incredibly slow, and the set up for the big reveal was drawn out without any cause, with most of the excitement being reserved for just the last five minutes of the play. The play itself was about shades of grey, with the lead dating and defending a convicted criminal. And yet, the end of the play undoes any such belief, sticking to the age old adage “A tiger cannot change its stripes.”

Despite its faults, the play, written by Deepanwita Roy, did attempt to provide an eye-opening social commentary on the plight of women when it comes to sexual assault at the hands of someone powerful. With an off-screen character having to marry her assaulter, ADA showcased one such case which, though trivialized, was heavily referenced, reiterating the gravity of the situation.

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That being said, the actors, from Mithil Raj Goswami’s quirky grandfather to  Shatabdi Chaidhuri , who plays a  wholly un-relatable female lead (redeeming her character quite brilliantly in the end) managed to juxtapose the messy storyline with their effortless acting. The standout performance of the night remains, that of Utkarsh Srivastava, the antagonist who made the audience loathe his actions and create feelings of unease with his mannerisms – with no redeeming qualities. ‘Shades’ is the best example of a play that could have been, with a great concept, but poor execution.

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While not the best we’ve seen from ADA, both plays managed to bring new perspectives onto the table, and ADA sealed their position as a dramatics club to look out for.

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