Mimes, improv, films, plays, and more—Dramebaaz housed all things theatre under one single roof. With large audiences, great performances, and interesting ideas, the events entertained and delivered the right messages.
Worst Auditions Ever
Worst Auditions Ever saw some brilliant acting, despite the name, giving Dramebaaz a good start in Revels. Teams of five had the task of delivering a performance based on assigned situations that revolved around the theme of an audition.
The teams were given a few minutes time to prepare themselves before taking to the stage. Once onstage, they had five minutes to present their performances. The situations ranged from playing Raghu and Rajiv of the Roadies Hall Of Fame to inmates applying for the role of a teacher. The event saw some spirited performances as participants did their best to make their one chance count, to the delight of the audience in the packed room.
The quality of the performances made up for some minor hiccups that came in the form of delays and problems with team registration, making Worst Auditions Ever a thoroughly enjoyable event.
Lights Camera Action
Lights Camera Action, one of Dramebaaz’s hallmark events, had its final round on the first day of Revels. The event drew a large audience into the AC Seminar Hall as the best films, selected on the basis of their trailers in the pre-Revels round, were screened.
Reflections’ meaning morphs into different forms according to the thoughts of the perceiver. With that as the theme for the event, the organisers provided the participants with a wide range of interpretations to implement.
With each story falling into different genres and exploring different ideas, none of them failed to wow the audience. While Crestfallen delved into the psyche of a man who knew how he was going to die, Funeral Sunshine—a movie heavily influenced by neo-noir—explored cigarette addiction. Vinayak put up some of the best acting performances on display as it explored the actions of Mahatma Gandhi’s tormented son after the Mahatma’s death.
Curtain Call witnessed intense acting based on excellent scripts on Day 2 of Revels, drawing in a huge audience to witness the talent on display. The teams that made it through pre-Revels showcased the full-length versions of their plays at this event.
With a mix of serious and humorous stories, the plays captured the attention of the audience and judges alike. The effort put into the acting and scripts was evident in the attention to detail paid by the team members in the 40 minute long performances. A few of the plays also provided insights into various issues prevailing in the country. Some of the plays incorporated live instrumental music that synced perfectly with the themes.
The winning performance, Charandas Chor, was about a thief—who by profession conned people for a living—making a vow to give up lying and keep all his promises makes until his death. It had a mixture of humour and irony and was well received by the audience, as evidenced by the standing ovation for the lead actors.
Dialogues play a huge part in theatre, often serving as the foundation for the entire plot and proceedings. In Moods, however, the actual dialogues themselves were not the most important thing, with participants tasked with having to portray a particular emotion through body language and facial expressions.
Each team of four was given one dialogue, and each participant picked chits that told them the mood they had to depict. The lines were famous Bollywood lines completely unrelated to the emotion the actors were trying to portray.
The performances were judged on the basis of how accurately each member of the team conveyed the emotion assigned to them. The audience too was involved, trying to guess what was being acted out. The event saw many impactful depictions covering the entire spectrum of human emotions from confusion to happiness to insanity. It was clear that the way things are said conveys just as much as the actual words themselves.
“An event like this is quite challenging for an actor because the dialogue and body language don’t go together,” said Deepanwita Roy, the event head. The judges were quite impressed by how well the participants used voice modulations to bring about such varied emotions.
Improv Asylum, which began on the second day of Revels, attracted a large number of people who kindled the Dramebaaz event with excitement and wit.
Teams of four had to pick any two of the three games on offer. In Freeze Tag, a new actor from the team had to take the place of the current one at every shout of the “Freeze” command. They would then continue the scene from the position the previous member had stopped in. Scene Replay put the participants’ wits to the test as they re-enacted scenes with a different set of roles each time as prompted by the organisers. Dubbing brought out the best of creativity and spontaneity as two of the participants performed on stage in sync with the other two members of the team who dubbed their dialogues for them from back-stage.
The audience responded actively, hooting and banging their fists on the table. The prompts—that included ones such as going on a date with a Times Now reporter, your dad seeing you buying contraceptives, and running into your ex on your honeymoon—sparked one fiery performance after another.
The top six teams from this round made it through to the final one on Day 3 after showing an appreciable command over their body language, comic timing, innovation, and teamwork. The finals began with another set of fun games to choose from. One among them was Something More/Something Less, where the participants had to intensify or reduce the current emotion with every command issued.
Mono Acting raked in a participation of over thirty veteran actors of MIT and witnessed some astounding performances. The rules were simple—Participants had between three and eight minutes to enact a monologue of their choice. They could use props and play accompanying music to set the tone.
The contestants picked a wide variety of topics; among them were the musings of a woman engaging in self-harm and a man dealing with the death of his mother. A particularly moving performance depicted the harrowing everyday life of a eunuch. Another performance that stood out for its incorporation of various emotions, including happiness and mirth, portrayed a man dealing with heartbreak after learning that the love of his life was marrying someone else. There were also some lighter moments, with hilarious adaptations of movie scenes that lifted the spirits.
“Mono Acting is where you can be yourself. You are a free spirit with no boundaries; emotionally, mentally, and physically free to express yourself,” said Aryan Tandon, the winner of the event.
In contrast to the performances in the other events of Dramebaaz, actions spoke louder than words in Mime. The teams were required to enact a five-minute play on the given topic without any spoken communication.
Contestants were grouped into teams of eight and each team was asked to pick a chit that alloted them a topic. They then had around five minutes to come up with a plot. The performances had a time limit of five minutes.
With a wide range of comical topics, the participants thoroughly enjoyed themselves while also making sure the judges were kept entertained. While the turnout was quite lower than expected, the hilarious performances ensured that the event was a success.
Nukkad Natak derives its roots from the traditional art of the same name, a form of street play historically used to spread awareness and as a tool of protest. The fact that the British government, during their rule in India, sought to keep a check on these performances through the Dramatic Performances Act of 1876 is a testimony to the power of this art form.
The performers, wearing colourful garb and with murderous kohl-covered eyes, yelled passionately as they critiqued societal issues and demanded change. Through acting, singing, and dance sequences, the participants brought various issues plaguing society—from unfair subjective journalism to new age trolling and meme culture—into the spotlight. All the topics were relevant to today’s society and were creatively executed. The hourly bell that normally rings to indicate the end of classes proved to be a minor inconvenience as organisers had to put the event on hold in-between plays so that it didn’t disrupt any performances.
The participants got their points across with electrifying energy. “One word that can describe Nukkad Natak is passion, which shows through our strong enthusiasm, excitement, and bold yet controlled emotions,” commented one of the participants of Nukkad Natak.