Divya Palat, an actress, a director and a producer, is as comfortable working on movies and web series as she is with stage plays
Divya Palat has just finished directing a web-based reality show and is already working on her upcoming play The Jury. She is also the brain behind YouTheatre, an all-inclusive annual theatre festival that is in its second year.
Divya Palat Pic/Shadab Khan
Q. Tell us about YouTheatre. How did the concept emerge and evolve?
A. YouTheatre is a passion project. It was born from a dream of helping small NGOs by creating mission
films for them, giving them a platform to perform and talk and spread their message and have people acknowledge the work they do and help out. YouTheatre supports the arts and uses the funds generated to help NGOs. We also organise spaces for artists to collaborate and create.
This year we have selected five NGOs and already shot for two. One is Avhan Palak Sangh — a day care centre for the differently abled and the other is a BMC School run by the Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare.
Q. Tell us about your upcoming production The Jury...
A. The Jury is a laugh-a-minute courtroom comedy. Loosely based on a true incident, The Jury focusses on a jury room post a trial. With 11 people in a room , more often than not the discussion focusses on everything else except the case at hand. We have a collection of phenomenal television,film and theatre actors. I love comedy and I love interactivity -- with The Jury, I intend to bring both together.
The play will end in an audience vote. The first 89 seats in the audience will be the jury seats. Based on their vote, the ending of each show will change. We will launch a website soon, where crime buffs can find out more about the case, read the transcripts, even hear witness testimony.
Q. Any other upcoming projects?
A. There is a new reality show that I’m currently scripting in June.... A small sketch skit that I'm performing in New York in May and then I have two more shows -- one for TV and one digital in September after The Jury finishes it’s August run.
Q. You are an actor, director and producer and have worked with different formats from movies to short films to plays. What is it that you enjoy the most?
A. I love every aspect of stage -- from the direction and production to acting. It allows me to have complete control of a medium that I have been performing professionally on stage since I was 14 years old. To me stage is ‘home’. I love film and television/digital direction as well. But, while you’re limited to the performance space and budgets on stage, on screen you can do wonders and it allows me the freedom to create without limits. You can say stage impacts the discipline I bring about while shooting a film and movies/ad films challenge me to make stage as entertaining and mainstream.
Registrations for performing at YouTheatre are open till the end of this month and the forms are available o at www.youtheatre.in