Adolescence is a strange phase of life. With hormones raging, your body undergoes physical changes; new, alien feelings start creeping up about the very person of the opposite sex you once hated; you grow increasingly detached from your parents for they simply don’t get you anymore. Sprightly kids turn into cranky teenagers with umpteen fickle problems, that are brushed off as trivial non-issues by adults.
“An adolescent mind is a whirlwind of myriad confusing, disarrayed thoughts for which there’s no outlet, no ‘voice’," ponders Vibhawari Deshpande. Clad in a bright harem pant and a loose tee, and hair casually tied up in a bun, Vibhawari’s dressing style echoes her simplicity.
A fitting combo of extreme passion for theatre and a thoughtful, sensitive outlook towards the world around her is what makes her click in Grips.
A few months ago, she decided to craft a new Grips play, but with no script, plot or characters in mind. All she had was this faceless entity called ‘adolescence’, and a team of 25 bright young actors. Films were seen, books were read, poetry was mused on, games were played, workshops were conducted and innumerable trials,
experiments and improvisations later, the group came up with Gayab Geet. A leap forward in the Grips theatre movement, Gayab Geet is aimed towards an adolescent audience, unlike the usual Grips plays that throw light on kids’ issues. The play will open on May 14 at NMV Girls High School, 7pm.
For the development of this play, Vibhawari came up with a process based on a whole new line of thought. The team members recalled their own teenage years and opened up about their personal experiences. “Vibhatai is an exceptionally brilliant director. Who else would let a bunch of kids create an entire play!” gushes Harshad Rajpathak, one of the cast members.
“This process was an eye-opener, for we learnt the significance of our own idiosyncrasies as adolescents. It also created acclimatisation to that age-group, as Grips involves adopting the mannerisms and thought-process of kids, or in this case, adolescents,” explains Aroh Welankar.
Adolescence being the age of defiance, Vibhawari is well-aware that even getting an adolescent audience to watch Gayab Geet is going to be a mammoth task. “That is why, we’re using social networking sites to create a buzz, an intrigue about Gayab Geet,” she says, which is why she cannot divulge too many details about the play’s synopsis.
“In a nutshell, Gayab Geet tackles seven stories of seven teenagers, with different backgrounds, but who share a common core of a lost expression,” Vibhawari informs. The play’s music, composed by Rahul Ranade, reflects the fire, the abstract spirit within teenagers.
Aren’t teenagers today better exposed to life’s realities? “Their problems or modes of expression may have changed, but the primary, innate feelings are universal.” Vibhawari’s daughter Radha is a feisty six-year-old.
Then why did she shift her focus from kids to teenagers? Vibhawari explains, “Adolescence is a critical age often left untapped by parents. Kids, at this stage, are extremely sensitive and vulnerable to the slightest of aggravation — like matchsticks that are ignited with the smallest of sparks.
How to mould them at this juncture is decisive of what kind of persons they end up being later.”
Copyright 2008 Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. . All rights reserved.