Business Standard

'Don't Panic It's Organic': 30 plays, 60 minutes and packed audience


Press Trust of India New Delhi
When done well, a stage production can transport the audience to a different world. But what happens when you get to see multiple acts, not just two or four, or even 10 or 20, but 30 plays in just 60 minutes?

"Don't Panic It's Organic" gives you that heady experience with its whirlwind tour of human emotions through a bouquet of plays that sometimes tell a full story and other times use live interactions with the audience to weave a tale,

Music and the play of lights have a big role in some of the 30 acts that push conventional boundaries of standard theatre. All through, the cast plays themselves on stage, not enacting any particular character.
So what's the concept and how do they go about it?

The "menu" of piping hot 30 plays, which are numbered on the clothesline at the back of the stage, are served to the audience. Number 19, for instance, is called Give and Take" and seven is Love it when you ask".
Various people in the audience shout out numbers, and the ensemble cast picks up whichever they hear first and perform that act.
"Neo- futurism, which is all about exploring the actual truth of being yourself on stage in front of a live audience, is the main theme of the performance," said actor Vishesh Arora, who recently performed the act at Roseate Hotel's in-house theatre Upstage.
The plays are funny, moving, challenging and at times just eccentric.
"Who want 100 rupees?" a male actor asked the audience in one of the 30 acts. "I", replied a male member of the audience. "Ok, give me a kiss then!" the actor responded.
Then there was 25, which was titled This is not a play". And it really wasn't one at all with the cast coming on stage only to say, This is not a play.
"There are three such anti-plays. These anti-plays are really, really small used by us to complete our plays in 60 minutes," said Arora, who is also the co-founder of Meraki Theatre Company, the production house behind the event.
Each play is different from the other and uses the various tools of theatre: musical, confession, poetic gesture, physical comedy, horror, suspense and many more.
In some of the pieces, the audience was made to to act as performers.
"So the handsome boy sitting on the fifth chair will hop on one leg right now," the actor on stage instructed a person sitting in the first row.
In another, titled Honestly, an actor said anybody could ask his co-actor Vishesh a question and he had to answer in Yes or No. The questions ranged from the MeToo movement to whether Vishesh had a crush on anybody in his team.
The idea is to blur the lines between the audience and the performers, said Vishesh.
For me, personally, the idea was to bring out some kind of reaction from the audience, thus, making the audience feel as if they too were the performers. Everyone loves being a part of something they never imagined they would do," he said.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

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First Published: Oct 29 2018 | 4:30 PM IST

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