“How do we cultivate education and history into a new world, when Hyderabad is a mix of various cultures in itself?” questioned one of the actors during the play ‘Old and New-Voices of Now: Hyderabad Ensemble’. Organised by the US Consulate General, as part of the Department of State’s cultural programme, the theater workshop was conducted by Arena Stage, a US-based theatre group, in collaboration with actors from Koshish, a division of the Youth Training Resource and Activity centre of the Covenant of Voluntary Associations (COVA).
Apart from portraying the diverse cultures that exist in the four century old city, the actors also tried to explain how parents today want their children to just opt for medicine or engineering as a career option. “The main objective of the exchange programme was confidence building and to train actors. I saw a lot of values in the local partners here from Koshish.” said Carla Benini, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General.
The play also emphasised on community building, wherein members of Arena and Koshish created an entire script only four hours prior to the performance. “We didn’t create a script. We just created a situation and dialogues. We were asked to write down what we felt on a piece of paper,” said Ali Ahmed, from Koshish, during the interaction after the play. Raymond Caldwell from Arena Stage, mentioned that the main focus of the plays is on stories of the actors. “We’ve conducted similar plays in all the cities we’ve been to so far, as a part of this international tour,” Caldwell said.
“We created a script from what was in our minds. We are all from different backgrounds, and hence we created a very unique diversified act,” mentioned MD Abdul, a B.Tech student, who is from Koshish. The play had each actor build his or her thoughts on various issues,concerning their own lives, and had them play it. “Our aim is also to build and teach actors between the ages 6-40, who are beginners. We were immensely pleased to work with the group,” noted Mitch Mattson, Ensemble Coordinator, Arena Stage.