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INK Edition IX : March 2017

Colour it Theatre!

A note from Team Thespo Hello Naatakwaalo! It's an exciting time to be at Thespo. Our new year is about to start, so last year's wrap is just about done (we've been saying that for months, but it does look like it's done now) and there's off-sites and meetings about the next festival. But guess what that means? Smashing plans for Thespo 19 are already being set in motion! The Ink is also swaying in these winds of newness. We have two new segments this time - Lead Pencil - Where young playwrights talk about the journey of their original work and As You Like It - Pop quizzes, funny stories, terrible jokes, memes (?), there's no end to how you can have fun with theatre right? In the regulars, Gaurangi interviews lighting whiz kid Amogh Phadake while Kumar Chheda talks about Abstract Productions, the newest theatre group in the city. We're already fans of the absolute badass Rytasha Rathore who joins us for Quick 8 and Thespo alumnus Nipun Dharmadhikari recommends his choice of plays to read.

A new year at Thespo also means new people (yes, you) so look out for the recruitment announcements! And keep writing to us at

That’s all folks!

Amogh Phadake is a 26-year-old light designer/operator. I don’t know about you, but I find that to be an anomaly in the system that churns out actors by the dozen every second. We at the Thespo office were very curious as to what led to such a life decision. So I met Amogh Phadake at Prithvi to ask him about it. He started with a question that I almost always never have the answer toAmogh Phadake (AP): What is this for? Gaurangi Dang (GD): I think this is for the Thespo ezine. Thespo as you know is an under 25 machine, and sometimes they like to interview young people just like them that they believe are doing good work. People like you. AP: hahahaha…Achha, okay! GD: So tell us about yourself. AP: My name is Amogh Phadake. I am 26 years old and I’m from Thane- Born and Raised.

GD: So you grew up around here. What do your parents do? AP: Baba has a publication business that publishes books.

Then I started going around with him to all the inter-collegiate festivals and slowly-slowly I began to understand the mechanics of the work better.

. GD: What is home like? AP: Ghar bahut hi kamaal ka hai. We have a joint family and everyone has been supportive of my work since day one, right from the time when I used to act in school plays. My mother was actually the one who told me to join Ruia College because it had a good theatre culture. So I joined Ruia College to do theatre. I used to act a little bit at first but I wasn’t very good at it, and then eventually I lost interest. Then when I was in the 12th Grade, I met Bhushan Desai. He is a light designer who used to do lights for multiple colleges, including ours. The rule in most competitions was that the technicians did not have to be people from the college itself. I met Bhushan sir and told him that I wanted to learn how to operate lights. He asked me to join him the next day.

GD: That is damn cool. You know, in Delhi University it isn’t like that. AP: In my First Year of college there was this competition called Sakal Karandak, which had the same rule. Sakal is a newspaper that hosts an inter-collegiate competition every year. So only students could participate. Since I had been assisting Bhushan dada for about a year at this time, everybody said, “Why don’t you only do lights because nobody else in the team knows as much about it as you do.” So I did the lights and it became my first time operating lights on my own. I ended up getting an award for it. After this I continued to assist Bhushan dada for the next two years, while simultaneously working on my own at the same time. During this period I got about 50 awards for lights. Then about two years ago

Makrand Deshpande was doing a children’s play called, KRISHNA KIDDING and none of his light designers were available during that period. A few of my inter-collegiate competition friends from Sathaye College happened to be a part of this production. So Mak sir asked them if they knew anybody who did lights and they suggested my name in return. I did that show and Mak sir really liked it, so he asked me to stay on and work with him. After that I worked with Hidayat Sami… do you know Hidayat Sami?

With Makarand Deshpande

GD: *I nod my head sheepishly* I’ve heard of him. He was in the brief that was given to me. AP: Haan, he was also on the jury for one of the Thespo festivals. He’s an incredible light designer. He’s currently in Dubai working on a Wizcraft project. He saw my work in one of Mak sir’s plays, liked it and asked me to work with him. So I started assisting him, and operating the lights that he had designed. Nowadays I do the lights for all of Mak sir’s plays and I think maybe because of that other people have begun to call me. So now I’ve worked with Purva Naresh, Rangbaaz, Dilshaad Ma’am, Motley and others. GD: Why did you pick lights? AP: I don’t really have an answer for that, except that I enjoyed how lights could affect a scene. You can alter the feel/atmosphere of an entire scene by simply changing a light. If you put a blue gel in a light, it would be night and if you were to put amber in it then becomes day. That’s it; I don’t really have a definite answer to the question.

GD: A light design in recent times that you’ve enjoyed? AP: Arghya Lahiri’s light design for LADIES SANGEET. In the second half there is a moment where something crucial is revealed, and he has chosen to use a backlight for it. That backlight increased the intensity of the scene tenfold and took it to a whole new level. That’s the incredible thing about lights; you can use the same light to increase the intensity and then to reduce it, to make the atmosphere beautiful or repulsive. I also, really enjoyed Hidayat Sami’s light design for AGNES OF GOD. I know how much work has gone into both these designs because I operate them both nowadays.

GD: And your own? AP: Mak sir recently opened his play PATNI, for which I got to design the lights. The light design for it is one of my favorites. GD: What is the light design for PATNI like? AP: It’s a solo performance by Mak sir with live music by Niladri Kumar. Niladri plays an instrument called the Zitar, which is a combination of a Sitar and a Guitar.The play is about the character’s dead wife, who has been dead for about a year but according to her husband she has been alive all this while. He has now reached the point where he is finally willing to let her go, and so the play is her grand exit. In the play, the character of the wife is portrayed through the lights and sound. So operating for the play becomes fun as design keeps evolving because you’re constantly reacting to the actor on stage. GD: What shade do you use for the patni? AP: There is no shade, only white light and gobos with a haze machine.

GD: What design are you using in the gobo? AP: I don’t know the name, but voh jungle vaala hain na. Jismi patte patte bane hai- we’ve reduced the size of that gobo, and used it to make small spots for the character of the Patni. So every time, depending on where Mak sir is, the Patni spot re-appears accordingly. Somebody came up to me after one of the shows and said, “You’re not a technician in this play. You’re a coactor.” I think that really satisfied that acting ka keeda in me that I had ten years ago.

GD: Do you still want to act? AP: No, I want to write, but it’s still nice to hear compliments like that. Anybody who’s met me after the shows of PATNI, whether it’s Ashutosh Gowarikar or Zakir Hussain has told me that I not only a light-designer in the play, but also an actor. However, plays like these where you get to experiment so much, are rare. GD: So what is next for you? AP: Next…I’ll still continue designing lights; I won’t leave it because I can’t live without it, but I’d like to write. I’m writing something, working on it at the moment. It’s a dark comedy about what happens when the difference between true and false disappears.

Dear Anonymous reader, annoying title doubtful theatre grammar



sip of character sketch


private life

disconnection isolation



loneliness patriarchal plot


you. simply. wait.

Yours truly, Ranjitha (as Ranjitha)

Rytasha Rathore’s

QUICK 8 Two Aadyam plays, two trips to META, the titular character in a TV show, a BuzzFeed feature and widely popular comedy sketches - she seems hell-bent on conquering it all in no time at all. We love her Instagram, we love her quirky outspokenness but what we love most about her is her #theatrelove.

Just Rytasha Rathore being herself while Mati Rajput takes notes‌

What is your First theatre experience? Very very first was the fourth standard school play. That was when I got a little attention for being a decent actor and felt "oh cool, here's something I don't suck at". Then I kept doing school plays and finally in standar 11 I decided I wanted to act forever. But the first play I ever performed outside of school was a children's play by QTP called 'The Mighty Mirembayanna and the Prisoners of Peace' back in 2010. How do you maintain your focus before a performance? I meditate, chant om, and just breathe. Breathing is the best. I can't recommend it enough for an actor. If given an option, what would you choose and why - Food or performance? Tough question, but probably food. I love food. Sorry. Name One favourite play. I loved Patchwork Ensemble's Ila and Rage's Flowers.

Name a character that you love performing Well, for stage, so far probably Reyhaneh Jabbari for 07/07/07. Name a Thespian that you look up to. So many! But my current fave is Neil Bhoopalam. I'm such a fan. SUCH A FAN. What is your dream character? I haven't really thought about it - but not one that exists already, I think I'll have to write it.

One advice that you would like to give to today's budding artists. Keep doing theatre! Do backstage, do small parts, do anything. But soak in the environment. And if you can afford it, go get trained!! We are so lucky to have The Drama School Mumbai now. Trust me it's the best thing you'll do for yourself. The years I spent at drama school were indescribable. And every actor should be able to experience that. A safe place to learn, to fall, make mistakes and work alongside the same ensemble for a prolonged period of time - it makes such a difference.

Once an ensemble...

Abstract Productions

It was about a year ago, in the month of February when all college students sitting in the Mithibai canteen were planning how they would spend their summer vacation and majorly just making Goa plans which would eventually fail. However, there was this one group of friends who sat jotting down names of theatre competitions that happen across Mumbai. Unlike other people, they were very clear on how their summer vacations would be – all about Theatre.

Anshuman Bagaria, Rishabh Joshi, Kunj Oza , Tejas Saple and I - Kumar Chheda, first met in the college drama team that we joined as freshmen. Mithibai has always boasted of successful productions and the experiences that our seniors had to share fascinated us further about this marvelous world of theatre which we were now a part of. We learnt the thumb rule of theater- If you want to make good plays, start watching them.

So when we thought of forming a theatre group, that was our obvious first step. We spent the whole senior year watching plays and learning about what worked and did not work for us. We would sit for three straight days witnessing eliminations rounds of competitions and making a list of mistakes dos and don’ts for when it was our turn. It was after having seen a lot of plays and gaining some amount of confidence, that Anshuman founded Abstract Productions with us as the core members. Aadi Chabi Ubhi Chabi

Abstract started off with a Gujarati one act competition called Bhavai. This felt like the right thing to do with. We had a tough time writing the script for this one and finally due to time constraint and conceptualisation issues, we decided to adapt a play. ‘Aadi Chabi Ubhi Chavi' (Crossword Puzzle) may not have been successful at the competition, but we realised the basic obstacles that arrive when making a play. From managing the rehearsal space to cost management of the production and set, it helped us get a first hand experience. Bhavai proved to be a good foundation for our next big adventure - Thespo 18. The play we presented was titled ‘Kalam’ and was based on the life of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Anshuman had been working on the concept for over a year and then he approached me with the thought. This being my first writing job, I was quite underconfident but my team’s support was a real morale booster. But the tough job came after that. The script had about 25 characters, which meant casting separately for all of them.

A Scene from Kalam

Each day, new faces would turn up and old ones would disappear. Once an ensemble of college students from all over Mumbai was in place, there were further problems viz. finding adequate rehearsals space in our limited budget, managing the timings and availability of the whole cast etc.

However, it is a matter of pride for us, that we overcame these troubles and worked hard for months to put up a good show for the Thespo screening panel. Not making it to the festival was a big setback for us, but what we deemed more important the curators had pointed out and to return with a better product. was to work on the errors.

Reworking the play has only made it better. Abstract Productions set out for a round commercial shows of ‘Kalam’ to a fair amount of appreciation. We did a few successful shows and were invited to perform at the Kala Ghoda Art Festival 2017. More shows are also in the offing. Even though funds and time issues do become a problem, the love for theatre is what keeps us all going. To anyone who plans to form a theatre group or is going through similar problems, I’d like to say - don’t give up no matter what, because it is all worth it.

- Kumar Chheda






THESPO RECOMMENDS Plays to read – by Nipun Dharmadhikari This guy is the bomb. One of the youngest theatre entrepreneur already making it big (founder of punebased theatre group, Natak Company) and one half of the funny duo taking the regional webspace by storm, (Bha.Di.Pa) he manages to make plays as diverse as a musical and a time travel dramedy. His play 'Dalan' from Thespo 10 still plays to packed theatres and can very well be called a cult classic. And if that isn't enough, he's been featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list: The India Edition in 2015 and Asia Edition in 2016. Like we said, Nipun Dharmadhikari is the shizz. And this month, he recommends his list of must-read plays for us Thespoans. Read on... ”It's not everyday that people ask what you read and why! Truth be told, I haven't read a great many plays. But of the few that I have, I would recommend that everyone should read the 'Wada' trilogy by Mahesh Elkunchwar. It comprises of Wada Chirebandi, Magna Talkyakathi and Yuganta.”

I was introduced to it by a performance by Awishkar, Mumbai directed by Chetan Datar. It was a performance of an abridged version of the script which was aptly titled 'Wada', because this location is central to all 3 plays. After that, I bought a copy of the published script and got busy reading it. Scene from Wada Chirebandi

I am not very sure, but I think it was the first time that sequels were written in Marathi. Having said this, every play is complete independently. The plays are an excellent study in characters, character motives and their development through the years. The plays are realistic overall yet a few key scenes border on surrealism which makes the biggest impact while reading. It in a way resonates our life as well, doesn't it? We think we are living a life driven by rationality, logic. A 'real' life. And yet most of the moments that we remember clearly do not make any 'logical' sense. Mahesh Elkunchwar

The journey of nearly 30 years that the trilogy takes us on is captivating to say the least. It left me feeling a little uneasy when I finished reading it. I was feeling content that the my beloved Parag and Abhay had received an end, but I still longed to stay on with them...longed for their conversations post 'Yuganta’.

WHAT’S ON AT THESPO Ismat Chugtai’s classic of how a blanket can be a doorway.

Thespo’s quest to promote youth theatre has been greatly aided since Thespo began it’s collaboration with Prithvi Theatre in 2007. Thanks to this development, Thespo now curates performances by young theatre practitioners and workshops, which Prithvi lends us space for. ‘Thespo at Prithvi’ or TAP thus also gives us a chance to be a part of the theatre lover’s life, all year round!

This April we bring back to you Lihaaf from Thespo 18

Also coming your way is a workshop on playwriting by Ramu Ramanathan, a Mumbai-Based playwright. Date: 4th & 5th April Time: 4:30 – 8:30 pm Venue: Prithvi House,Juhu Fees: Rs.600/-

(Started in 1999) is a platform for any and every young person under 25 who is interested in any and all aspects of theatre. Except for the age limit, Thespo firmly believes in including youth from all parts of the world, all fields, all language groups and all art forms who share a love for theatre. Over the last seventeen years it has grown from a one-evening event to a year round movement comprising of an annual Festival, monthly shows at Prithvi Theatre, theatre training programmes, workshops, site-specific performances and much more for young theatre enthusiasts.

(Established in 1944) is one of India’s oldest English language theatre groups whose members (Alyque Padamsee, Sabira Merchant, Gerson Da Cunha, among others) have gone on to become legends in theatre, radio and television.

(Established in 1999) is a dynamic young theatre group dedicated to promoting and facilitating theatre in the public consciousness through socially relevant plays, workshops, readings, newsletters and much more.

Write to us: ink@

A note on the cover This month's edition tries to depict genesis - a wave of diverse concepts, keeping in mind the fact that every suggestion fits in and should be given an equal opportunity. We needed nothing more than a few watercolours, dishwashing liquid and a straw to translate the concept of initiation by blowing infinite bubbles. – by Mati Rajput

INK TEAM Edited by: Kalpak bhave Designed by : Reema Sunil, spriha nakhare



Thespo Ink - Colour it Theatre! Edition IX  
Thespo Ink - Colour it Theatre! Edition IX