On the 13th and 14th of June, DSM Batch 2018-19 performed in their school for the very last time as students. This is a short review of the event and their year-long learning. Aadyant.
Aadyant and the preparation leading up to it. Photo Credit: Poulomi Dey
Each year, the PG Course in Acting & Theatre-making comes to an end with Aadyant. Aadyant (literally, from beginning to end) is a showcase of the students’ learning journey. In a lot of ways, Aadyant is what the whole course leads up to. It pulls together skills accrued across weekly theatre-making labs, various scene studies, a design module, and the annual production.
Kathryn Doshi is one of the Core Faculty at DSM. She observed that ‘the pieces were very different. They reflected the interests and passions of the ensemble.’ The pieces ranged in variety from a kitty party to a fairytale to a zombie political drama. Aadyant was mentored by DSM faculty members Sheena Khalid, Iravati Karnik and Kalliroi Tziafeta.
Kalliroi Tziafeta mentored three of the final pieces. The first was Checking in. It was a story of 3 people experiencing loss. The students treated the piece almost like a film with a very realistic setup and convincing characters. But the direction played with techniques, allowing the audience to see the passage of time in a non-realistic fashion. The use of parallel action and intertwined conversations created pathos and kept the audience engaged through the piece.
Another Aadyant piece was about fairytales. It spoke about how children perceive fantastical stories and how that defines a lot about their life. With this piece, students explored a very deep theme very skilfully, with a lot of humour and solid acting. This wasn’t a large-scale production, but everything nonetheless, came to life with the impact of a Westend musical.
Irawati feels, ‘All pieces showed that the students had learned how to turn something important one wants to say or an important question one wants to explore into something performative and theatrical.’
Perhaps that was best demonstrated by the surprise hit of the evening, Hell of an Election. Political satire is difficult at the best of times, but this piece set the tone by being set in hell. A hell where if you stay long enough you start enjoying the torture. The piece got huge laughs and despite the zombie makeup, left the audience with a pinch in their hearts and minds.
According to Kathryn, ‘Aadyant is meant to give students the full experience of creating original work. Ideally, they will feel empowered to leave school and then create more work rather than just depend on finding a director who will cast them. They do not need to wait on the sidelines for their chance. They have a process that they can use and adapt to make the work that they want to see in the world.’
And we are sure the audiences who attended the 2 days of Aadyant could not agree more. We could hear collective reactions so often. A very well-timed light change drew focus to how things move in slow motion and there was instant applause. The audience gasped as one when they realized the kitty party they were seeing was actually children at play. And of course, there was constant laughter throughout the evening. All of this made Aadyant 2019 a most memorable experience for audiences and performers.