A bunch of crazy theatre enthusiasts- this is how the Grim Pumpkin productions describe themselves. Started in February last year, the theatre group from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) has been pretty consistent in bringing out new productions. The bunch recently staged ‘The plays that went wrong’, an adaptation of four contemporary plays on different themes by Alex Broun and Eric Ferguson at Lamakaan.
The theatre group is a brainchild of two arts student of EFLU, Sishir Challa and Aadithyan Mohan. “It all started when I joined a workshop in 2011 where I learnt the crucial aspects of acting. Grim Pumpkin started when I worked with a friend in directing a woman centric play ‘The secrets of 8 women’ after which the group came about.” Over time the group underwent changes in terms of old members leaving and new additions to the group. With the original director of Grim Pumpkin leaving after a few months, Sishir took up the mantle of direction and came up with his first play ‘A night of the Absurd’ which was staged at Lamakaan.
The ideology behind the name of the theatre group depicts the changing dynamics of the group . “There was no specific reason to come up with this name. It’s just that students come and go and in each semester we have new members in our group with old ones leaving. We started with four going up to nine. Now we have 20 people in our group,” says the 23-year-old. The dramatics group is an eclectic mix of students studying subjects like Mass communication and Journalism, English, French, German at EFLU. Although most of their productions are adaptations of foreign playwrights, Grim Pumpkin has forayed into original scriptwriting as well. It was nominated for the best original script for its play ‘Unus Mundus’ in the So Keep it Short (S.K.IT.S) a short play competition held in September this year. Scripted by Sishir, the story of ‘Unus Mundus’ is an interview of three prison inmates by a reporter. “Usually the stories we take up for production are adaptations of well-known playwrights. This was the first time we performed on our own script and the feeling was amazing even though we couldn’t make up to the final round. However, our script was really appreciated by the judges,” he shares. Even with studies and other extracurricular activities, Grim Pumpkin believes in painstaking and laborious practice sessions with the aim of delivering the best in every performance. “We practice everyday as a group at night in our college regardless of weekends or holidays. We also do extempore and voice culture sessions on a regular basis. These nightly sessions have gone to such an extent that if I am not a part of them, I feel restless. It’s very hard and tiring, but in the end it’s worth it with the amount of work my group and I put in,” says Sishir who is also working as a soft skills trainer.
Talking about the groups future plans, the young director says, “We are working on a couple of plays based on short stories which will be staged in January or February next year. I am waiting for all the members to return by month end after which we will get back into motion for a new act in 2014.”