Playwright's Inc

The third edition of the Writer's Bloc festival will showcase 12 new plays by playwrights, who have undergone elaborate training, to witness their imagination come alive on stage

From tribal displacement due to industrialisation to the effect of Kashmir's civil unrest on it's children and the consequences of re-development on a small East Indian colony in Bandra, Rage's Writer's Bloc festival will showcase 12 new plays with different themes.

Dhanendra Kawade, Sadiya Siddiqui and Mona Ambe-gaonkar
in Mahua, written by Akash Mohimen

The stories reflect different aspects of our country and have been written by 12 budding playwrights. These playwrights have gone through a year-long training process as part of the Writer's Bloc, a unique playwrights' programme, which puts the script at the focal point of the theatrical experience.

Playwright school
"Playwrights and Indian stories seldom get their due," says Rahul da Cunha, one of the masterminds of Writer's Bloc. With an aim to encourage writing and impart training to playwrights, the Writer's Bloc was started by the Rage trio Shernaz Patel, Rahul da Cunha and Rajit Kapur in 2002.
They sent out announcements and soon received about 50 entries. Their second edition in 2007 received close to 90 entries and this year, they received 104 entries. "Writer's Bloc has grown as an entity. The standards have gone up and we are getting a huge number of young writers," says Shernaz.

Jaswinder Singh and Mangesh Bhide in Jaal, written by Annie Zaidi

Out of the entries they get from around the world, a certain number of playwrights are selected by Rage's partners, The Royal Court Theatre, London and then put through intensive training workshops.

This year, three trainers from the Royal Court April de Angelis, Carl Miller and Elyse Dodgson had come down to conduct the training workshops.

The 12 playwrights selected this year, from different parts of the country, attended two 14-day workshops to learn the technical aspects of writing. They were also put in touch with production houses.
"We worked on our scripts stage by stage and saw our final draft go into production and come alive on stage. It was an amazing learning experience.
It also gave us an opportunity to discuss our scripts with other writers who gave us valuable feedback," says 27-year-old Akash Mohimen, whose play Mahua, will be premiering, this Monday.
"We do not have any formal training school for writers in India. There are many acting schools but none for writers," says Rahul. "Besides, writing is a lonely profession. These workshops bring together playwrights and create a platform for them to interact," adds Shernaz.

A mixed bag of plays
"The scripts, this year, are very interesting. And since the playwrights are from different parts of the country, the scripts are a mix of different subjects, including rural and urban themes," adds Shernaz.

Though they received scripts in several languages, the best scripts, which were selected, were in Hindi, English and Marathi. After premiering at the Prithvi Theatre, the plays will be staged at the NCPA and Yashwantrao Natya Mandir as well. The plays will be travelling to Bangalore and Delhi in February.

ON January 9 to 20 TIME  7 and 9.30 pm
At Prithvi Theatre, 20 Janki Kutir,
Juhu Church Road. CALL 26149546
Entry Rs 300

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