10-minute plays bring the best of talent in the Indian community!

Abhinay School of Performing Arts conducted an intensive play-writing workshop with Short+ Sweet Theatre Festival’s artistic director Alex Broun on July 8-10 at Shopfront theatre in Carlton, Sydney. Seven participants who took part ranged from as young as 15-year old Karuna Darwesh to 70-year old Kamal Kakwani. The ideas they came up with were varied with Karuna as a young student thought of issue of climate change affecting our planet with another idea that developed into a 10-minute play by Neena Badhwar of an Indian bride and her dilemma in getting married to a robot when she suddenly gets the jitters as doubts rage in her on her wedding night. Another interesting one was by Sukhpreet Dhamoon where a talk back radio show host is stripped of his so called media power by no one else but his own mike as it comes to life as Mic the Mike. Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia’s play in Hindi was well received about families caught in between the curfew post 1984 riots and how a Hindu family is helped by a Sikh neighbour as tension built up due to a member falling critically sick. Young Shourya came up with tense drama about a long last son taking his father a hostage with a tragic end. Kamals’ play was a belated epitaph to her 99-year old mother who died last year.

Seven participants were Karuna Darwesh, Shourya Nidhi, Neena Badhwar, Jasbir Singh Alhuwalia, Robert Bellon, Sukhpreet Dhamoon and Kamal Kakwani. They learnt about all the aspects of theatre that included writing a script for 10-minute play to casting, acting and staging their play. Alex brought out the best in everyone and said that it was like a reality show like Master Chef where the contestants had to come up with a script that could hold the audience as he reminded all that theatre is a ‘shared act of imagination’ by actors and audience. “Connect to your characters as they’ll start speaking to you,” said Alex as everyone tried their best.

“They say that we all have a novel or a film in us. I don’t know about that but definitely everyone has a 10-minute play in them,” said Alex, “And you can see your own idea being performed in front of you.”

On Sunday, July 10 many Australian actors, playwrights and directors were invited by Abhinay School of Performing Arts who rehearsed the scripts first half of the day and presented eight plays in the afternoon at 4pm as moved readings. After the stage performance in front of a select audience, “I must say that in many of my classes people drop out. But tonight these participants have not only gone through an intensive workshop but they have come up with excellent 10-minute plays,” Alex said.

15 years old Karuna Darwesh produced ‘Human and the Earth’ played by-Murray Robertson as Mr. President, Ngahiiti Faulkner as Earth and Sue Lytollis as Madam President;

19 years old Shourya Nidhi’s tense drama was called ‘Hostage, acted brilliantly by Jim Gosden as Hostage and Aidan Pezzutto as son, Directed by Shourya Nidhi, the play kept the audience guessing. It also had a very dramatic ending.

Neena Badhwar entered two plays ‘Rocky II and the Indian bride’ with robot played by Aiden and Marni Long as the Indian Bride.The play was directed by Vee Malnar.

Neena’s second play was based on the life of ‘Buddha’ and four women who helped him achieve Nirvana. Nasrin Amine played Sujatha, Cheryl Pomering played Maya, Olivia Stokes as Yashodhra, Maurine Elvy as Amrapalika and Brian Bagshaw as the waiter brought a comic interlude in between some serious dialogues. ‘Buddha and his four women’ was directed by Uma Kali Shakti.

Jasbir Singh Alhuwalia’s ‘Ek Nayi Subah – A New Dawn’ had Aishveryaa Nidhi, Sukhpreet Dhamoon, Dixit Thakkar, Rohit Kalia, Mona Grover, Shourya Nidhi, Nishthha Nidhi and Subeyksha Pyekural playing different characters of a family in Punjab during 1984 emergency period.

Robert Bellon’s ‘Birthday Party’, acted by Vee Malnar, Brian Bagshaw, Martin Estridge, Kathy Urukalo, Marnie Long, This hilarious play was directed by Vee Malnar.

Sukhpreet Dhamoon’s ‘The Power’ played by Martin Estridge as a radio shock-jock Jay, and Jim Gosden as Mic the Mike.

Senior most participant, Kamal Kakwani wrote and staged ‘Delayed Epitaph’ – a dialogue between a daughter and the ghost of her mother played by Fabiala Meza and Rhonda Rourke.

All the plays were of such high caliber that it was difficult for Alex Broun to judge the winner as he decided to declare the results later.

Hindi Gaurav’s Anuj Kulshrshtha donated a prize for the best play which went to Jasbir Ahluwalia’s ‘Ek Nai Subah – a New Dawn’ declared by Amarinder Bajwa, President UIA and Harpreet Singh Narula, editor of Punjab Times. The Indian Down Under newspaper gave encouragement award to Karuna Darwesh of a Family Pass to Taronga Zoo.

‘I had heard a lot about Aishveryaa Nidhi and Alex Broun from various sources, but was not very sure about them but after doing play-writing workshop with them I hold them in very high esteem, they are genius, May God bless them and I look forward to learning more from them in future.’ Said Jasbir Singh Alhuwalia, deserving winner of the award for writing ‘A new Dawn’

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