Having 50 years of experience in the theatre and film industry, ‘Wecandoit!’ theatre company has managed to accomplish the impossible for the second time! An idea that grew from simple ‘chai’ talks and a couple of friendly get-togethers, DASTAK 2017 has successfully won the hearts of audience.
DASTAK is Singapore’s first Hindi theatre festival where 10 plays were performed over the course of 10 minutes. The word ‘dastak’ in Hindi means “knocking”. This is in line with the structure of the production and the company’s perspective on theatre. We knock into one of the many stories of the word and come in the form of theatre.
‘Das Tak’ in Hindi means “up to 10”. This play on words have a direct correlation to the idea of this production.
This year following their debut in 2016, was slightly bigger and tremendously improved in standard. An addition to the 10 plays, a street theatre performance was also devised by Ponamma Devaiah, called ‘NUKKAD’. This was a 20 actor ensemble using physical theatre and music to perform the childhood stories of Panchatantra. The most intriguing part of this performance was that it was held outdoors and performed not only in Hindi but infused with other languages to bring out the inclusive nature of such theatre performances.
A theatre production of this magnitude obviously was supported by the wonderful community of actors and directors. What was exceptional this year was that 2 of the 10 plays were directed by non-hindi speaking directors, Nur Khairiyah and Susie Penrice and was made international by bringing in a play from India, by Gopal Datt from ‘National school of drama, New Delhi’.
All this would have been impossible without Shalaka Ranadive, Festival director and Rayana Pandey, Artistic director.
The success of a production is measured by how well all changes and issues seem invisible to the audience, which was smoothly achieved by the DASTAK team this year.
This production is not only about bringing 10 plays together, but about creating quality theatre, giving a platform for aspiring artists and creating awareness. By doing so, not only did this production create pieces that send a message to the audience but invoke a million emotions in the short span of 10 minutes.
This probably seems unimaginable, but that is the beauty of theatre, bringing the craziest ideas together and somehow, it just becomes an acceptable idea of the world.
DASTAK 2018 we are waiting!
– Written by Sai Lalitha Aiyer (Stage Manager and part of production team for DASTAK 2017)