For someone, who’s had a very little experience in theatre but wants to stick with it for as long as possible, events turning out in their favor might seem like a little magic from the universe. Yeah, well, toning it down a little bit, I would say that I had always sought a connection in theatre, and as I was drifting away from it, things started to fall into place when exactly two months ago, I somehow got to know about a theatre workshop organized by The Yuva Ekta Foundation and went there to attend it. Little did I know was that this workshop will lead to a course of an entirely new experience for me that I would remember for my life.
SOF Naatya Raasta, a platform for aspiring actors to showcase their skills while working for a social cause urged me to be a part of it and right from the auditions to the final performances, each aspect of this process has managed to etch itself and this will stay with me for the longest time possible.
To begin with, a bunch of young adults came together to experience an entirely new domain of theatre under the supervision of Puneeta Roy, which remains to be our lodestar till now and for other performances to come. 13 of us were total strangers to each other and in a span of two months, amidst all the practice sessions, scripting process and the warm-up games we became a team and like true team players, relied on each other at one point or the other.
The cause that we worked on ranged from redefining masculinity to power sharing, breaking stereotyped gender roles and all this while we had to make sure that it’s informative enough for the masses, so that when we perform it out through nukkad naatak format, we deliver a cause which urges people to read between the lines. The entire process helped me a great deal in transcending the outdated social laws and a stereotypical behavior that we project towards things not out of choice but rather, out of stereotypes. Working on third gender problems and sensitizing the masses to it was one of the causes we picked up. The hypocritical nature regarding gender roles is often seen in our society and keeping this in mind, we brought up many daily-life instances which portray how disparities between man and a woman tend to grow as soon as the question of equality surfaces. Doing all this, at some level, I got to know about my own loopholes and started to bring these issues to dining table conversations back home. To my dismay, my parents obviously couldn’t understand the dynamics of feminism or overhyped concept of masculinity but at least I tried bringing this up in my family and as they say, charity always begins at home, I served the purpose well.
Besides the cause and its subsequent effect, what I loved the most in the entire process was the sheer honesty and humility in the people who kept us glued the entire time without making us feel low at any point of time. Imagine a place where you go and meet a bunch of brand new people in your life and you cannot help but remain in a perpetual state of awe with most of them and in the end, you think about it and say, ‘was it really a happy place that I was in?’. this is exactly the same thing I will continue to cherish and be amazed at how brilliantly we all managed to get our things done, where nobody was abused, verbally or otherwise, nobody cried for wrong reasons and we never practically played the typical sadistic part like the ones they play in dramatics society of Delhi University to get things done! Pheww! All went well.
In the end, I would like to conclude by saying that never in my life have I met so many beaming faces, someone’s who’s ready to help you at any given point of time, and someone who has made peace with human idiocy so they will never judge you, someone who loves and is a giant throbbing heart, someone who can be super intelligient like a scientist and still look pretty, someone who changes you for good and I got to see them, meet them, be with them, for a good 2 months. Plus, we also worked for a cause. Our Ladyship Puneeta Roy, without whom we all would never have come up with any performance, let alone the scripting part, made us stick together for good and saw in me and all of us, the potential to do a little extra and little better than the rest who couldn’t be a part of this. We became the Change. We contributed in changing the world, in our own tiny ways.With love. With conviction. With Faith
Till next time
-Ritu Bhatt is a Delhi University pass out, a passionate blogger and one of the actors in Sounds of Freedom’s ‘Natya Rasta’ theater group