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A pioneering attempt by thespians

A micro-drama festival named after Thespis of Icaria staged 25 shortlisted plays in 10 different languages and awarded seven categories for the first time in India.

A pioneering attempt by thespians
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A first of its kind National Micro Drama Festival, "Thespis" was organised by Vriksh Theatre at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts recently. Artistes presented a series of 25 micro drama tales composed with the duration of 10 minutes each. The nano drama tales were based on different themes and titles and out of 40, 25 plays were shortlisted for the final day. The function was inaugurated by Prof Waman Kendre, Director, National School of Drama (NSD) and Veteran play write Prof Omcherry N N Pillai. A book containing gist of all 25 plays for the festival namely, 'Short and Sharp Hues of Micro Drama' was also released at the inaugural function. The book consists of synopsis and details of all the plays released on the occasion.

The event was warmly dedicated in the loving memory of veteran actor Om Puri, Kanhaiya Lal and Kevalam Narayanan Panicker. The event was also recorded by Book of India Records (BIR) as it was the very first time to register the micro-drama festival in their books. Many eminent people from the fraternity were also gracing the event.

The festival honoured the commitment and objective of Vriksh – Art for Humanity, who showcased three plays by children of NGOs – Saksham (Mohmaya), Deepalaya (Lets Begin) and TK Soman's group (Khud Mein Hai Vishwas).

The festival is named after Thespis of Icaria, who lived in the 6th century BC and was the first actor to perform alone. The plays are in 10 different languages including Kashmiri, Rajasthani, Urdu, Punjabi, Oriya, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi and English. The festival was organised by Vriksh, under the leadership of Prof Abhilash Pillai, eminent theatre personality and faculty of the National School of Drama and Ajith G Maniyan, who recently directed a full-length drama on the life and time of VP Menon, who integrated the native states into the Indian Union.

According to Ajith, "Despite being a fresh idea of a micro drama festival, we received good response from theatre groups and individuals. It is the first time in India and only the second time in the whole world that a micro-drama festival is happening. Despite it being a new concept, we received tremendous response as 42 scripts were submitted to us."

The themes of the drama were unique and were twisted with lingual trail.

The list of dramas include 'Black', 'Enni Nammal Mathram', Floating leaves of Chinaar', 'Karnan', 'Kleptomania', 'Maaya Main Jaanu Tu Thagini', 'Mohmaaya', 'Oru Nimisham', 'Oru Whatsapp Vardhakya Puraanam', 'Saga', 'Selfie', 'Shikandi', 'Sunaina', 'The Coffee Shop', 'The Oldman at the bridge', 'Persistence of Memory', 'Silence Please', 'Aakhir Mera Qasoor Kyaa hai', 'Play X', 'Vaishnava Jana To', 'Kaddi Alvida na Karna', 'Pardho ke Pache' and 'Nana'. Directed by Anju Mattoo, 'Floating leaves of Chinaar', depicts the agony and suffering of kashmiri pundits in Delhi, who left their land with bare hands to protect their lives. 'Nana' is a play on battle with child sexual abuse. The awards distributed in seven categories:

Best Drama – Mrigha Trishna; Best Director – Manoj Yadav; Best Actor – Anurag Kumar (Mrigha Krishna); Best Actress – Anju Mattoo (Floating leaves of chinaar); Best Technician – Latin Ghai (Mrigha Trishna); Best Script – Sunaina (Director Kuldeep Kunal); Best Drama Audience Poll – Sagha; Special Mention – Ajitha Narayan and Taran Deep Arora.
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