CHENNAI: Theatre is not an alternative to movies, it is an art in itself, says Rajiv Rajendra from Blu Lotus Foundation, throwing light of the forthcoming Short + Sweet Festival, starting July 5. The festival, which is more like spoonful of theatre chasing another spoonful of theatre, is far from the staid cinema feel.
“When it comes to the audience today, with their less attention span, many of them say, ‘Oh theatre is boring, we have to be inside the place for like one-and-a-half to two hours. Instead we can go watch a movie.’ But with this festival (S+S), there are going to be 10 different ten-minute performances in the same two hours,” says Rajiv.
The festival, which is in its fourth edition now, is presented by Prakriti Foundation and The Blu Lotus Foundation, in association with the Alliance Française de Madras and the Australian Consulate General of Chennai.
For participants, the mantra is simple. Break down, perk up, bawl and chuckle — just do all of it in 10 minutes. As seen in the previous editions, participants can use all the props they want, have as many people on stage as they wish, given they let their work crawl into the audiences’ heads and stay there.
Last year, Rajiv recalls a play wherein 17 persons got on to the stage so as showcase a helicopter. In contrast, there were plays with just one participant as well. “It is all about experimenting with the art without the pressure of production. Both experienced and emerging talent share the same stage. It helps people rub shoulders. People can jump off the cliff knowing that there is a parachute!” says Rajiv.
The festival embraces all those who say they have talent and the willingness to do plays, but just not the time for full time theatre, says Rajiv. And this philosophy never let them down, as they found a few winners among the first-time playwrights, in the previous years.
The number of plays being showcased has seen a gradual increase from 22 in 2011 to 31 and 40, in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
This year, it has set the highest record, with 50 plays that will be performed as part of the festival.