BENGALURU: As the signal turns red, twoand- four-wheeler riders impatiently wait at the junction. A team of youngsters or a ‘youth mob’, akin to a flash mob, arrives at the zebra crossing and performs a play. Vehicles turn their ignition off and commuters now shift their attention from signal to the mob. Within seconds, the team, without a line of dialogue, effectively communicates the message and just when the signal is about to turn green, they make way for the vehicles, and the vehicles start to move after a brief applause.
This is an initiative by You and Theatre team to bring plays to streets and educate people about theatre and social and economic concerns. This youth mob is slightly different from regular street-play troupes, in their attempt to engage and inform audiences within seconds. The idea is the brainchild of Abhishith Rao, a soft-skill trainer. The idea was conceived in January and he has built a team of 18 members, which is a mix of techies, working professionals and students.
“Theatre is one of the most effective mediums to educate people. Unfortunately, these days, people don’t go to watch plays anymore. Theatre is restricted to a very small audience. That’s when I decided to bring it to the people, in streets,” says Abhishith. While performing at signals, time is crucial. “We will have to communicate effectively different themes — save environment, need for green cover, women empowerment, atrocities against women, harassment – and more within few seconds.
And since it is a public place with a lot of noise, we decided to not to have any dialogues. A silent act can give a whole new meaning, which we realised during the plays. We use plenty of placards and props and facial expressions, of course,” he says. The youth mob is staged on streets on third week of every month. They performed ‘Save Trees’ at South End Circle and Lalbagh signal stretch in January and in February, they performed ‘Mahakaali’, a play on atrocities against women, at Banashankari BDA complex.
At Lalbagh, the team performed the play five times at 11 junctions, for over four hours. This Sunday (April 22), they are planning to stage ‘Prakruti’ – a play that draws comparison between a girl and Nature — in Press Club at Cubbon Park. “It is a nine-minute play and we are planning to target the crowd that comes to Cubbon Park on Sundays,” says Abhishith. They are also performing a play on Save Wild Life organised by IISc, on April 29, next to Rangasthala Auditorium on MG Road.