They wanted to project some social issues to their fellow students. And, they decided to do this through street theatre. First year students of Department of Visual Communication of the School of Communication, Dr. G.R. Damodaran College of Science, brought out five such pressing issues through their plays here on Wednesday.
Seven groups came up with storylines based on the issues of caste discrimination, gender sensitisation and abuse, effects of deforestation, identity crisis in the modern context, and the Indian education system and related stress.
Sneha M. Jain, first-year student said each group staged the plays in various areas of the college from morning till afternoon.
Each group of 10 to 15 students divided the various functions among themselves, such as script writing, costume designing and make-up, props preparation, acting and the other effects.
But all this was done in a professional way with guidance. According to G. Radha, Head, School of Communication, the college conducts a week-long orientation on theatre every year for the first-year students.
'Mr. Kumaran and team from Indianostrum Theatre Group, Puducherry, and Mr. Murugaboopathi from Thanjavur, who is a national award winner for theatre playwriting, trained the students for five days. On the last day of the training, students had to put up these plays. Last year, the whole class was given a single theme. But this year, the class was divided into seven groups and given various topics to prepare plays on,' she said.
Street theatre was a skill-based subject for which the students were assessed for 100 marks. The external trainer and the faculty assess the students for their presentation. There was also a viva voce during the end of the semester on the subject.
That the department believed in street theatre as an effective medium of projecting social issues was proved by the students when they brought it out well through play acting.
Vibhu Suresh, another first-year student, said that the experience not only honed their acting skills, but also made them socially aware. They took three days to prepare each play that was timed between five to seven minutes each.
Students from other departments of the college gathered in groups to witness the plays that had a social message.