In the last ten years, the Vayam Performing Arts Society has been steadily growing and expanding its scope, gaining for itself both recognition and experience. What began as an idea in the canteen of Delhi University’s Shivaji College in 2006 has now over 500 productions and 180 awards and special performances to its name. And Vayam’s name, a Sanskrit word that translates to “we”, carries within itself the ideas that society hopes to embody – togetherness, social empowerment and integrity.
Expanding its scope further, Vayam organized a ten-day-long confluence of varied art forms and artists in March this year titled “Malang – The Performing Arts Festival”. Taking the initiative of promotion of artists and art forms forward, the society recently staged their much appreciated theatrical production ‘Syaahi’ at Akshara Theater in Delhi.
The plot of ‘Syaahi’ is an amalgamation of three stories – ‘Gidhade’, ‘Kutte’ and ‘Sakharam Binder’ by the renowned Indian playwright, Vijay Tendulkar. It is not exactly an adaptation of any of the stories. Rather, the characters and instances of the stories have been used to carve out a script which appears to be an excellent confluence of a few extracts of these plays. The three plays are cushioned with a fictional story that runs as the plot line.
‘Syaahi’ is a fiction drawn on the canvas of factual instances. It tells the story of a budding writer whose writings are criticised, demeaned, denounced, and declared inappropriate. The writer digs up his life and brings out the darkest events to the pages. The book marks a huge success in his career and the writer emerges to be a potential source of income to the publisher. The publisher, in order to earn more profit, suggests him to pen down his own life. As the play progresses, we see him getting caught in his own writings; struggling between realism and surrealism. The writer intertwines his life and his writings to such an extent that ultimately he ends up destroying his own writings.
The actors of the play do a brilliant job of infusing authenticity and credibility into the story. Each scene of the play is intertwined beautifully to link various instances across the parallel lives of characters of the play. The entire cast including Aakash Bhardwaj, Rahul Yadav, Mansi Gupta, Akshay Tyagi, Nitesh Sharma, Ujwal Arora, Shubham Aggarwal, Sankhya Joshi and Lakshay Arora have worked for almost a year to build and develop their characters. The precision and execution of the screenplay is superlative. The smart use of concordant music and lights complements the scenes and makes the entire experience of watching the play all the more interesting and worthy.
Both the shows of the play were packed with enthusiastic spectators to an extent that there was no space to stand in the auditorium as people were sitting on stairs to watch the performance. The hall resonated with long and loud round of applause after both shows. The shades of humor, thrill, obsession and fear make this play enthralling, captivating and entertaining for the viewers. The audience moved out of the auditorium overwhelmed with the quality of theatre that they witnessed. There were words of praise and appreciation all around on the conclusion of the event as the audience and organisers were delighted with the proceedings of the event.
The highlight of the event was the promotion of social causes. The second show of the play was attended by almost 20 members of an NGO called ‘Yes! We Can’ which supports the cause of making daily life easier, accessible and enjoyable for persons with disability. It was a first opportunity for the differently abled persons present at the venue to witness a live performance of a stage play. The joy and satisfaction of attending the event was visible on their faces. Apart from this, a donation drive also formed an integral part of the event as useful material like clothes, bed sheet, books, utensils etc. were collected for the needy and handed over to ‘Kartavya – The Social Service Society of Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, University of Delhi’.
With its well established campus wing in Shivaji College, University of Delhi and professional wing based in Delhi and Mumbai, Vayam is making eminent progress to fulfill its aim to become a driver of social change by means of art. The society is also currently recruiting interested budding artists, script writers, directors, technicians and volunteers to expand its scale of activities.