T17 Play (2) - Lassanwala 4

– From 7th to 13th December 2015, now in three venues, Prithvi Theatre, The Hive and Godrej Theatre, NCPA  

– 5 plays, 7special events including international acts and collaborations, 4 platform performances, 2 fringe performances, 10 workshops and 4 live music acts! –

It’s the time of the year that Mumbai theatre lovers wait for with much anticipation! Thespo, the annual drama festival for theatre wallahs below the age of 25, is back with its 17thedition. Taking place from 7th to 13th December 2015, the festival is centered on the theme of ‘Drama ka Dhamaaka, bringing alive the raw and vibrant energy of theatre.

This year, the festival has received 159 entries from the India and Pakistan. From that, it has crafted a stellar line-up of over 30 events, including 5 plays, 7 special events including international acts and collaborations, 4 platform performances, 2 fringe performances, 10 workshops and 4 live music acts.

Organized by QTP, under the aegis of Theatre Group Bombay, it will be taking place in three different venues this year: the iconic Prithvi Theatre, from where Thespo began its journey in 2008, the Hive, one of the city’s newest, hottest cultural hubs, and the Godrej Theatre, one of the most intimate auditoriums of the NCPA.


With its mission to showcase the homegrown talent of India’s young theatre wallahs, Thespo 17 has put together five of the finest full-length plays. They span across languages like Marathi, Hindustani (Khadi Boli), Bengali and Hindi, and explore an eclectic mix of genres like tragic comedy, fantasy and comic drama. With the talent ranging from new theatre groups, multimedia art companies and professional theatre groups, it promises a fresh, dynamic viewing experience for the Thespo audience.

Enjoy the light-hearted yet poignant ‘Chitthi’ by Pune’s Theatre Dilse Group, where an illiterate woman is trying to catch her cheating husband through her own deciphering of a handwritten letter (8th December 2015, 9:00 PM, Prithvi Theatre). Set in the present day rural heartland of North India is ‘Lassanwala’ by Little Creative Minds from Mumbai, which tells the tale of a staunch Brahmin and the tragicomic events in his life that shake his firm belief in the caste system (9th December 2015, 9:00 PM, Prithvi Theatre). For all the Bollywood lovers, Pune’s Ranga brings to you ‘Hero’, which is a comic drama about a boy who starts impersonating Amitabh Bachchan to woo a girl who is not easily impressed (10th December 2015, 9:00 PM, Prithvi Theatre & 12th December 2015, 7:00 PM, Godrej Theatre, NCPA). Or if you wish to enter the realm of fantasy, look out for ‘Toy’, a visually stunning play about a boy who believes that he lives in an aquarium with fish as his real friends, adapted from a short story of Nabarun Bhattacharya by well-known Bengali theatre group Barasat Kalpik (11th December 2015, 9:00 PM, Prithvi Theatre). Another one to catch is ‘Dastaan-e-Bhookh’, an Absurdist dark comedy by Delhi’s Third Space Collective that explores the psyche of a suburban family that suffers from a never-ending hunger (12th December 2015, 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM, Prithvi Theatre).


One of the key objectives of Thespo 17 was to bring more international talent to festival. Thanks to the successful ongoing campaign on Wishberry, Thespo has gained the support of the local community, enabling the festival to feature international workshop leaders and performers. As a result, the line-up has a host of international performances by diverse theatre practitioners from Canada, Italy, UK and Australia.  ‘The Stranger’ is the brainchild of Italy-born Daniele Bartolini, an urban-immersive-interactive experience designed for one spectator at a time which transforms the lone audience member into a performer (9th to 13th December 2015, all day).

Also of noteworthy mention is ‘Brotherhood – the Hip Hopera’, a high-energy one-man show telling the parodied story of two brothers “living it up” in the Hip Hop life (10th December 2015, 3:00 PM, Prithvi House). Last but not the least, there is Australia’s Glenn Hayden returning to Thespo with ‘Stimulated Voices’, a celebratory theatre performance inspired by the poetry and writing of young people across India (12th December 2015, 7:00 PM, Godrej Theatre). Through these rich and varied collaborations, the endeavour of the festival is to expose India’s theatre aspirants and enthusiasts to the best of the international theatre circuit.


With its effort to showcase to its audiences uninhibited theatre at its best, Thespo 17 has lined up a host of its trademark platform performances. Don’t miss ‘Downtown Kashmir’, a Hindustani play that follows the tragicomic life of a young boy named Kashmir while shedding light on the issues of unrest prevalent in the state today (9th December 2015, 8:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer).  Also, there is the striking social commentary titled ‘Nakli Chehre’, an exploration of a poem which mirrors the different masks we adorn in our daily lives as members of society (11th December 2015, 8:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer). Or if you’re looking for some classic family entertainment, ‘Tricks in my pocket!’ is a magic show that will leave everybody speechless with its array of simple yet clever tricks (12th December, 8:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer).


At Thespo 17, one can expect to see theatre in its purest form with its fringe performances. First up, there is ‘Dekho, Magar Pyaar Se’, an English piece that playfully uses and transforms the masculine stereotypes we find in advertisements, Bollywood, and our own families (10th December 2015, 7:00 PM, Prithvi House).Also, there is the Marathi play ‘Ti Ani Apan’, based around people’s reactions to the events round the Nirbhaya rape case (11th December 2015, 7:00 PM, Prithvi House).


Along with unveiling the fresh, undiscovered talent of India’s young theatre wallahs, the festival also holds numerous workshops that empower the youth with crucial knowledge and skills in different fields of theatre. Playwright Ramu Ramanathan will conduct a workshop on the traditional art of writing a play by exploring the short stories of Rabindranath Tagore and plays of Vijay Tendulkar (7th December 2015, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Prithvi House). Aspirants can also look out for ‘The Navrasas’, an exploratory session by actor, writer and dancer Padma Damodaran, which will use the notion of the Navarasas (nine emotional states) to teach performers how to discover the numerous layers of simple as well as complex texts (11th December 2015, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Prithvi House).

If you are keen on exploring how multi-media forms can come together to form compelling narratives, watch out for ‘The Art of Storytelling through Multimedia’, a participative workshop facilitated by Tim Smith, Rav Sanghera and Madeleine O’ Wright, an eclectic panel of writers, dramatists, photographers, film-makers and radio producers (12th December 2015, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Prithvi House). In addition, for all novice Method Actors out there, catch ‘Method Acting: An Introduction’ as Sohrab Ardeshir, veteran actor and Lee Strasberg alumnus, explores the acting technique through sample monologues and delving into sub-text (10th & 11th December 2015, 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM, The Hive). With such a rich array of workshops, Thespo 17 promises to make aspirants hone their craft and appreciate the art of theatre in all its beauty and complexity.

Talking about Thespo 17, Quasar Thakore Padamsee, Co-Founder, Thespo & Artistic Director, QTP, said, “For this year’s edition, we have uncovered some of the rawest talent of the country, and also managed to bring down some really cutting-edge international acts and workshop leaders. We are sure that our patrons will leave Thespo 17 inspired, invigorated and certainly coming back for more!



As Thespo has evolved as a creative haven of all art forms, it will also host an eclectic line up of live music performances throughout the festival. If you’re in the mood for some groovy fusion beats, Ziryab is a Pune-based band that will bring together the brilliance of Western, Classical and Indie genres (8th December 2015, 6:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer). Next up, Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Shubhangi Joshi is back at Thespo after releasing her debut EP ‘Talking Away The Night’ last year, to serenade you with her smooth acoustic, soul and jazz sounds (9th December 2015, 6:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer).  If you’re a Beatles and Pink Floyd fan, Radiance is another band hailing from Pune who will belt out old school rock-n-roll beats (10thDecember 2015, 6:00 PM, Prithvi Foyer).


Since its inception in 1999, Thespo has consistently surpassed expectations of theatre aspirants and enthusiasts alike. With its 17th edition, it is all set to achieve new heights with its fresh, dynamic performances, enriching workshops, and foot-tapping live music performances. As the entire community reunites for the love of theatre under the Thespo umbrella, it will certainly be an experience to be cherished.