About the Program:
The program was conceived and lead by Abhishek Majumdar in 2015-16 to train young playwrights who are developing their first or second plays.
The program structure was a mix of reading -writing exercises, exhaustive reading list of plays, poems and essays, assignments – research and field based, group seminars and discussions.
Like all other programs, it was offered free of cost while being rigorous and exploratory.
Participants & their projects
Play title: Mi’raj
Mi’raj is the journey of two friends caught between doubt and the many shades of faith. The play uses the Isra and Mi’raj incident from the life of Prophet Mohammed to begin a conversation about the word of God and the quest for Truth in an increasingly polarized world.
Testimonial: The playwriting program was the ‘How To’ initiator that I was looking for into the basics of playwriting craft. As the facilitator, Abhishek was rigourous, patient, and very mindful of the writer’s space. The program also gave me a peer group that I value tremendously – we’ve continued to read and feedback each others work even beyond the program.
Sathwik N N
Play title: Iruvanthige
One evening in a small village in coastal Karnataka, there comes a news that there might be Tsunami the next morning. Everyone is asked to pack their bags and get on to a bus that will take them to a safe place. But there is a condition: only one suitcase per person. For Chinmai, a fifteen year old girl from the village, her cycle is everything. She wants to take it across at any cost but the whole village opposes her apparently crazy demand. Will she be able to take the cycle across?
Testimonial : A great introduction to playwrighting, conducted in a most serious and rigorous manner. Abhishek teaches you much more than playwrighting, he teaches you what it takes to be an artist.
Play title: Radhey
“Radhey” is based on last two days of Karna’a life, set in the epic battle of Mahabharata in Kurukshetra. Karna is also known as Radhey, a foster son of Radha (a low born lady of Kuru Kingdom). Play tries to explore Karna’s internal conflict of getting acceptance in the larger society, self identity, duty towards the mater, friendship, relationship during the epic war in last 2 days of his life, along with it’s effect in the lower and oppressed sections of the society.
Testimonial : It was a great learning experience. We were exposed to the tool and techniques to write a play. It was a very intense program, comprising of class-room session, discussion, presentation, scene work and home work where we were asked to not only read various plays from different playwrights across the world and time but also, poets, essayists. We were asked to develop 2 plays, one during the program (in the first 2 months) along with our classes and the second one as or final play, whose 1st draft we have to come up within one month (final month of the program).
Anju Alva Naik
Name of the Play : Ok , That’s Enough !
‘Ok ,That’s Enough’ is a play in English that is based on the lives of two women navigating through the complicated landscape of life in their early 20’s in a semi Urban setting of Mysore. Preethi is an engineering student who hails from a ‘small town’ called Nanjangud while her roommate Swathi ,the quintessential ‘city girl’ from Bangalore, is a psychology student persueing her masters.On the face of it Swathi and Preethi seem like chalk and cheese owing to their difference in backgrounds and the associated baggage of thinking.Things get completely flipped over when they faced with a grave situation .Some strange contradictions emerge , several tropes and stereotypes are questioned and a lot of hipocricies are stripped bare,not just with respect to the two young ladies in question but also the society at large.This psychological drama covers a large canvas as far as themes are concerned , with sexuality,both it’s assertion and repression being at the forefront.Choice,Courage and Consent ( The three Cs if I may 🙂 ) are other important aspects that take on unconventional dimensions in the telling of this story. ‘Ok,That’s Enough’ is as much a story about self discovery as it is about self destruction.
Testimonial : I developed a taste for writing during one of the terms of the Director Training Program where we had to adapt the play ‘Equus’ to an Indian setting. It’s probably a small thing but the way I see it , I was able to bring about some dramatic changes to the script under the pretext of adapting . It really felt like I had created something .So when the opportunity to do the Playwrights Program came my way I was thrilled beyond words. I think the program was an absolute genius in the way it was constructed and carried out . What is worth special mention is how we were made to believe that the play that we started writing at the beginning of the program was the only one we were going to be writing. So we approached it with all our seriousness,of course struggling to keep up with deadlines etc only to find out that what we had written was for practice and the real deal was yet to follow.But it was during this time that we were introduced to some really nuanced aspects of playwrighting such as dramatic arc ,structure, reversals etc .