Natya Ustaad: Where creativity flourishes

by Team ACF
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When Arunansh Shokeen isn’t writing socio-political plays, he dons the hat of a judge at the state-level drama competitions of prestigious institutions like the Hindu College. Apart from this, he has also been one of the panelists at the national-level drama competitions in states like Orissa, Punjab and Haryana. While writing a play, he focuses
on creating a mix of dream and reality — something which has a potential to alter the world. He wishes the world to be a better place for the future generation and hopes his works contribute towards the goal. During his conversation with Art Culture Festival, he said, “Since ages, theatre has been used as a political instrument because it makes it easy to communicate a message to people. Anyone can convey their ideology or chain of thoughts with theatre.”

Apart from these activities, the twenty five year old is also the founder of the bustling theatre and culture group, “Natya Ustaad”. Looking back at his journey, he says his first tryst with theatre started in college when he read the writings of many renowned playwrights. It was from here he started penning his socio-political plays. “I attempt to present on stage the present realities,” he says. Elaborating on writing for the stage and street plays, he elucidates, “My play Transistor, which is based in a madhouse, presented the visuals which exist in society. I had proof of those incidents of madness and that is why I chose madness as the subject of my dialogue. On the other hand, during the scripting of a street play, I draw inspiration from the current day scenarios that demand betterment through active social and political engagement.”

“Theatre is also known for bearing stories and making the lives and the struggles of the common people more memorable. A struggle which is engrained in each one of us, theatre is thus an act of urgency. I was drawn into active theatre because I saw the need for resistance to corruption.” He also recalled some incidents from the Anna Hazare
andolan and how the revolutionary fervor inspired him to make contemporary plays. “During that time, I had met many people who were not theatre practitioners but wanted to participate in the protest, which is also part of street theatre. They wanted to do it out of their free will. Nobody had forced them to protest. They all wanted to see a change in the society. That is when I realised that if an ‘aam aadmi’ wished to bring a change in society he could use the means of protesting to raise a voice against injustice. “

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