The new edition of Short+Sweet will showcase 50 plays and some out-of-town talent
Ten minutes, 50 plays, one month. That’s the calling card of the fourth edition of the short-play theatre festival, Short+Sweet. Raising its curtains next month, the fest promises to be “bigger and better, with fresh faces from out of town,” says Ranvir Shah, the festival organiser and the founder of Prakriti Foundation. The city will play host to artistes from Pondicherry, Pune, Bangalore, Coimbatore and even Australia.
Renowned as a launchpad for first timers, Shah says the idea behind Short+Sweet is to create a community of theatre by increasing the number of nuclear writing. “It encourages everyone from a housewife to an IT professional to a student to express themselves through their writing and through theatre,” he says. A collaboration between Prakriti Foundation and the Blu Lotus Foundation—in association with the Alliance Française and the Australian Consulate General—the festival ran to full houses in the last three editions.
According to 25-year-old Sreejith Palliyil, who is directing the play Will (a dialogue between an executioner and a criminal), the 10-minute format is more fun than a regular length one. “Trying to squeeze in the story arc, the characterisation, the drama, in these few minutes is so much more challenging. And it won’t bore the audience,” says the Coimbatore-based banker who wants to introduce a similar 10-minute theatre fest in his hometown Palakkad. But for city lad Sathish Shanmugam it’s the scent of competition that’s exciting. He is bringing The Zombie Apocalypse, a social satire that he believes everyone will relate to. For Divya Mangwani from Pune, her first visit to Chennai is as exciting as the opportunity to meet the city’s artistes. “I have been conducting rehearsals over Skype so far,” says the 27-year-old teacher of drama, whose play 1, 2, 3 – Ready, Set, Go, is based on her own script.
In the days leading up to the festival, several workshops were also conducted, to “improve artistes’ skill sets—like the scriptwriting workshop by playwright Ramu Ramanathan, and voice and acting workshop by Vinod Anand (Madras Players),” says Meera Krishnan, the festival director, noting that the plays always attract an interesting mix of audience, not just the regulars. Before signing off, Shah says the productions have a very Indian voice. “They deal with sexuality, corruption, arranged marriages, poetry and the like,” he says, adding that if you sit down to watch 10 plays on an evening, you will get a chance to flip through a gamut of themes, much like flipping through a book of short stories.
The fest starts on July 3, from 7 pm to 9 pm. At `200 for an evening. Audience can also vote for the ‘Play of the Day’. Details: eventjini.com
Surya Praphulla Kumar