"We started as a small bunch of enthusiasts. Now we're a family full of them."
This is what Anantha Venkatraman, a member of Theatron has to say about the official theatre club of Anna university. The first time you go for auditions you get to see familiar faces as well as new ones and there's an immediate connection with each one of them. The director, Mavisha Ramachandran, then decides the cast and the others who are not part of the cast have an even more important role to play behind the scenes. Groups are made on Whatsapp and a goat is picked for bitching. A cast member rightly said, "Bitching is the best form of bonding." Even the seniors join in and it feels like everyone has known each other for long.
So what happens during practice? They scream their lungs out! Not really. They practice on improving speech delivery and try to improve lung capacity. That's just warm ups. Then come crazy games like zip-zap, objects,etc and each time it's different.
A month before the play, the character sketches are decided. One of the actors says,
"The best part about doing a play with Theatron is the director let's you decide your own character. There'll be inputs from the director but the final character is completely shaped by you."
There's complete chaos during the first few days but then there's this spark of order which is the only thing that remains. A lot of practices are scheduled and blockings are decided. It all sounds easy, but try to get 15 people to gather at the same time( it happens only when there's food). Each cast member has a different personality and tries to infuse that into his character. A person good with accents tries different accents for his role. a person who looks calm and Composed gets an authoritative role. A person who looks like a goon, well you know what role he gets.
"Theatre, is the best form of human expression! In this ego centric world, art is the best way of communication as it hits the heart directly! No filters, no judgements, no discrimination." says Srutanjay, Creative Head , Theatron.
During the practices a lot of gossip, fights and bitching take place. Secrets are shared, each person's crush is found out and made sure that he/she doesn't have a chance with that person, but it's all in good humour. after a few practices and bonding sessions it's evident that the person has evolved. A shy person becomes talkative, a grumpy person becomes all cheerful and an egoistic person, well he still remains the same.
Two weeks before the play is the photoshoot! Their photographer, Mithul Mathivanan, can make a chicken look like an eagle. Or so they say. During the photoshoot, everyone is all dressed up and trying to act all swaggy. The official pictures would be just 1 GB or so. The informal pictures occupy almost 17 GB. Everyone is just super excited about the photoshoot and there's a lot of energy. Funky poses, pig faces, duck faces everything is tried and tested. What's after the photoshoot? Dance session! Even the silent guys shake a leg!
The pictures are edited and put up as profile photos. Funny captions are put up and there's a discussion about who got more likes.
One more week to go, and everyone is all serious. There's nothing like a small or big role in a play. "If you're a tree In the play, make sure you're better than an actual tree." - that's their philosophy. Full day practices are held and at least 3 run throughs are done. All the seniors come in and provide us with valuable suggestions. The founder of Theatron ( guess who?) is scheduled to help out too. There's a lot of excitement, nervousness and confusion but the cast has been working hard and might just deliver an actual experience.
Watch 'Night of January 16th' - Ayn Rand performed by Theatron, Anna University on the 24th of August at 5 p.m. at the Music Academy, Mini Hall.