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Revels ’19—Dramebaaz

Ashwin Suresh

Moods present the state of one’s own mindthe expression of which delivers a message with far more fervour than just the conveyance of words. At this Dramebaaz event, popular phrases were presented to participating teams of four in a bid to find victors best at getting into character. Each participant drew a chit that represented the mood they were supposed to perform, enacting from a range of emotions and quirky behaviour. Some performances even included those of the dark triad such as psychopathy. The participants had to bring out the proper expressions while repeating the same incessant phrase.

The judges evaluated teams on how well each member performed their mood while repeating the phrase, while the audience was asked to make guesses as to what moods had been given. The same phrase in different tones made for quite an entertaining scene, greatly putting to test the dramatic skills of the participants and showing off each of their unique styles of theatrics and voice modulation.

Moods depicted the power of delivery that makes drama and theatre all the more enjoyable besides the quality of the plot itself. “It’s a really great way to push our acting skills to the limit as the emotion with which we depict a line through can change the very meaning with which it’s taken”, said Shaunak Date, a participant at the event.

Curtain Call
Saharsh Ranjan

Curtain Call, the center stage competition under Dramebaaz, was held on the second day of Revels in the Library Auditorium. Qualifying the pre-Revels rounds, four teams presented their full plays in the finals and brought the stage to life with a series of emotions on display.

The event attracted a considerable audience who witnessed the amazing performances by the artists. Once the rules were announced, teams took to the stage and the actors transformed themselves into completely different personalities. The winning team’s play focused on a myth haunting a village that amazed the audience with their realistic and emotional performance, and another team presented a play-within-a-play and brought to life the ghosts of Mahabharata to enlighten not only the characters but also the spectators.  The 50-minute acts, filled with strong character portrayals based on well-written scripts, were accompanied by beautiful background scores and lighting. While one of the stories brought the audience to the edge of their seats, another made them laugh their hearts out.

“It is amazing how these stage plays connect with the audience. When the acts ended, it felt as if I was a part of each of these stories. After witnessing such performances, I’m inspired to try drama in the next semester,” said Palak Soni, a spectator at the event.

Nukkad Natak
Saharsh Ranjan

On the last day of revels, Nukkad Natak brought Dramebaaz’s final show on the roads of MIT, gathering a large crowd in front of NLH. The event was a street-play contest wherein teams presented short plays with a mixture of dance, drama and songs, without any electronic medium.

The four teams that made to the final round of Nukkad Natak presented acts which aimed to spread awareness on different social issues. With an ethnic dress code and intense facial looks, the teams came out and performed, shouting slogans and singing popular Bollywood songs by altering their lyrics in the context of the play’s theme. The strong poetic dialogues, accompanied by energetic and well-coordinated dance sequences, not only entertained the audience but also coerced them to ponder upon the issues that affect our society. Relevant subjects like mental health and 2019 elections found the audience connecting well with the plays. Using minimum props, the acts mostly comprised of human formations, which garnered loud applause from the people surrounding the venue.

“I find the concept of street play more direct and intense. It allows us to express ourselves in a much different way compared to a stage play,” said Madhuram Shriya, a participant. Being one of the final events at Revels 2019, Nukkad Natak kept the energy levels high on the last day of the fest.

Worst Audition Ever
Adithya Nayak

Dramebaaz’s ‘Worst Audition Ever’ was a mix of improvisation and talented acting where teams of four had to act based on unusual situations that revolved around the theme of an audition. Each team had a few minutes to prepare for their skit on the scenario presented to them on the spot. The situation given to them was based on unrealistic auditions, ranging from the military auditioning for Jhalak Dikh Laa Jaa to a butler applying for a job of an Indian housemaid. The audience welcomed these goofy acts with laughter as each team had to make the best out of the scene given to them.

“The motive of the event is to know the acting and the improvisation skills of the team as a whole. The scenarios provided to them on the spot are bizarre so that the participants work hard to maintain the essence of the act without disturbing the plot,” said Sanket Baheti, category head of Dramebaaz.

Although some participants were unhappy with the minor change in rules without prior notice and the delay, the hilarious acts delivered by the participants made for a delightful evening on the second day for Revels.

Swadhin Routray

Painted faces, persona and vivid expressions took to the stage in Dramebaaz’s Mime, held on the third day of Revels’19. There was a large audience gathered to witness the performances of the teams, sitting at the edge of their seats. The rules of the competition were simpleeach team would be given a scenario, and then seven minutes to prepare for their performance, which would last around five minutes. The maximum number of team members allowed was eight, and any other member of the team was only allowed to help with the background music.

A total of four teams took to the stage to perform their acts. The first team portrayed a scene where one person heroically saves a group of people from a duo of robbers. Followed by them, were a team who were delighted to travel on a train. A classic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge train scene was portrayed. The next team beautifully acted out a comic cricket match, where the umpire was so confused, that he declared the bowler out at one point. The bowler was then penalised for bowling an underarm ball, which confused everybody present. The event concluded with the last team performing an office terrorist attack, in which one of the employees was killed by the terrorist.

The event was an extraordinary display of the skillset of the artists, whose hard work and dedication were on display throughout the event, leaving the audience with awestruck faces, and in envy of their talent.

Mad Ads
Varun Srikanth

After being removed from the category last year, Mad Ads made a strong comeback with hilarious products and more amicable performances. The rules were simpleteams were given a ridiculous product to sell, and they had to come up with the most creative advertisement they could think of. Each team was given five minutes to prepare their performance before getting on stage.

There were a wide variety of strange products on displaylike a charcoal toothpaste that would make your teeth black. The contestants brought their best to the event, with almost every performance leaving the room in splits. The standout performers, however, were unquestionably the team with the advertisement for the bizarre “Vomit Agarbatti”. This event brought a real sense of levity and allowed for some fun amongst the more serious events in the category.

“The set-up was a little hectic since this was the last event of our category, but the event went on without any major disruption,” said Nishant Gupta, the Event Head.

Monoacting and Mimicry
Joshika Sachithanandan, Varun Potty

The first round of Dramebaaz’s Monoacting and Mimicry event, held in NLH 304, witnessed 17 of MIT’s finest actors display their stellar acting chops. Participants were allowed three to five minutes of stage time to perform a mono act or mimicry of their choice. They were also given the provision to use any props and background music to accompany the act.

Performances included a dramatic monologue from A Few Good Men, a few bone-chilling renditions of Marvel and DC supervillains, mimicry of characters from animated movies, and one particularly impressive Roadside Romeo act that received tremendous applause from the audience.

The judges, Mr Akshay KC and Mr Vivekanand N, said that though the performances were certainly commendable and did justice to the broad spectrum of acting talent in MIT, many fell flat in manifesting the very essence of mono-actingi.e one person portraying different characters. The performances were judged on the basis of originality of the script, expressions and stage presence.

Harshita Binani, Vinayak Srivastava

Yet another innovative take at a classic, with Improv, Dramebaaz staged one of the most entertaining and heartily-participated events this year. Held on the opening day of the fest, Improv set high standards for the events to follow.
The competition was divided into two separate games, ‘Freeze Tag’ and ‘Something More Something Less’. Teams of two would be given a spontaneous prompt, made to stop at any minute with an organiser shouting ‘freeze’, and one of the actors would then be replaced by another team member and take the plot forward in a completely different direction. The team would then go on to play “Something More Something Less” where all the members of the team would take the stage simultaneously, and act out the given prompt in a time constraint of three minutes. The final round of Improv had six teams at their acting best to win the competition. The teams had to choose two out of three options to perform onFreeze tag, He said she said and Something more something less. Their take on a plane being hijacked and demonstrating the first steps on the moon drew the loudest cheers from the audience.
The judges for this round were Kartikeya Goswami, from the Department of Film Studies and Veena Maben, from the Department of Humanities and Management. “The quality of each act was very good. It is a tough competition.” said, Nishant Gupta, one of the category heads of Dramebaaz.
Image Credits: Photography and Videography for Revels ’19