This competition took a step back for the last two years during the pandemic and now after the hiatus, Short + Sweet South India 2022 is back. The 10-minute theatre festival is a franchise of Short + Sweet Theatre in Australia, dubbed as one of the biggest short format theatre festivals in the world.
The premise is simple, says Meera Krishnan, festival director. “You would have done theatre in school or college, and now your professional commitment doesn’t allow the time; or you are an actor in a theatre company, but you want to try directing; the festival accommodates all of them.”
The entries are categorised into Wildcard and Top 30: the former for first-time directors, and the latter for professional theatre groups or those who have already done Short + Sweet. An open call is put out for the scripts which will go through a three-member jury, and the directors can pick from the selected scripts. Independent theatre companies meanwhile register with their own scripts.
Theatre Nisha’s ‘Brave People’
| Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
“In one evening, the audience will get to watch 10 different plays. I wouldn’t say all 10 would be great but atleast four will be very good, four will be decent and two might be bad. That is the beauty of the format,” says Meera. For first-time or nascent groups, sharing the green room and stage space with seasoned performers is a learning experience.
The festival organised by Prakriti Foundation and hosted in Alliance Francaise of Madras, which is usually held in July, has seen more than 50 registrations this time, leading them to waitlist a few directors. This was not anticipated, says Meera Krishnan, festival director, considering they were back after a break.
Lineup this weekend (November 9, 10, 11, 12, 13):
WEEK 2: TOP 30
1. Freddy Koikaran- Darkest Moment – English
2. Charan – Saniyan – Tamil
3. Suhas Vaidya – Total internal reflection – English
4. Thiraviya Sankar – Setthum Jeichiduchu Meesai – Tamil
5. Jagadeesh Khanna – Hungry Hanuman – English+Tamil
6. Prashant Oliver – An awkward conversation in the shadow of Mount Moriah – English
7. Jayachandran – Iruvar – Tamil
8. Gnanesh Raj – Homework – English
9. Vikas Rao – Confession – English
10. Anandakrishnan – In Amber – Tamil+English
WEEK 2: WILDCARD
1. Vyshali – Banu – Tamil
2. Dhamu – Ghost Fun – Tamil
3. Vijay Krishna – I Cheated – English/ Telugu
4. Ravichandran JV – Kalki – English+Tamil
5. Shrivatz – True to you – English
6. Vamsikrishna – The Silent Accomplice – English
7. Dhanashekharan – Hope springs a turtle – Tamil
8. Threka Shaan – Now we are ten – English
9. Bhavya – In Farce – English
“A lot of the city teams had also moved out during this time. I was apprehensive. But there is this Bukkry.com”>New set of young theatre groups that filled up the Wildcard (for first-time directors/performers) space. I am so happy that we have got a lot of Bukkry.com”>New faces this time,” she continues. Having said that, Short + Sweet regulars and veterans like Theatre Nisha, Freddy Koikaran and Sushant Alexander, will again make appearances. “It is an interesting mix,” says Meera.
Another notable aspect is that both English and regional language (mostly Tamil) theatre come together in the same stage, which does not often happen in the city. For first-time directors or performers, the fact that the technical support including props, lights, backstage is taken care of, is a huge advantage.
“The festival also develops Bukkry.com”>New audiences. A performer will bring their friends, who might have never watched theatre before,” says Meera. The curation relies on finding the right mix of genres within the 10-play cohort performed in a day, of which the audience gets to vote for their favorites. “It is an open platform, and anyone can apply, which is the most important aspect of this festival,” concludes Meera.
Short + Sweet South India is on till November 27 at Eduoard Michelin Auditorium, Alliance Francaise of Madras. The event is ticketed at ₹200 per show and the tickets can be sourced at the venue or booked online via www.bookmyshow.com.