Ingenium Dramatics, the brainchild of Natasha Chandra, staged a play called Alexander: Rising Of The Great, at Ravindra Bharathi, on the 9th of August. Written originally by Jake Galloway, the play was directed by Natasha Chandra, a student of Film & Theatre from Queen Mary’s University (London). The play is Ingenium's third production since its inception last year, and 60 percent of the proceeds from the event are being donated to charity.
The play traces the story of Alexander - from his birth, to his being crowned king. Alexander was trapped in his parent's stormy marriage all through, with his father's volatility and his mother's jealous guarding of Alexander from that very trait of his father. The angst peaked when Philip married another woman, and when Philip was assassinated, Aexander's friends proclaimed him king.
Ingenium has clearly tried to bring theatre right out to the mainstream with this production - and it's not just the item song that says so. The play has hence, had to contend with some glaring shortcomings. Firstly, there was too much emphasis on switching among scenes, rather than milking the most out of individual scenes, so there was a significant amount of time spent rearranging the stage - evidently, the backstage team was kept more than busy.
Then, with about 41 actors in the team, the cast of the play was huge, and largely an amalgam of school-kids eager to expand their list of extra-curricular activities, and rookies from the city's theatre groups. So the boys showed a constant unease with the flowing robes slipping away, and as for the girls, it wasn't the dresses, so much as a certain self-consciousness of being on stage, that was quite distracting to watch.
However, the professionals stood out - the lead characters were all sourced from Hyderabad's well-known theatre groups. Sana, a Samahaara product, was brilliant as Queen Olympias, and so was Jerin, the Dramanon member who played King Philip. Sutradhar too pitched in with the cast, with Vijay portaying the ever-pained Alexander convincingly enough for you to volunteer to cheer up the young saddened over-achiever prince with a pep talk or two.
The set designers and the stylists, too, seemed to have put in formidable effort, with a lot of attention paid to detail. The forest setting and the painted fabrics that served as backdrops weren't very compelling, but Greek-styled ridged pillars sure were. And so were the soldiers' suits of armour, and the women's pleated silks.
Getting a lot of people interested in theatre is quite a feat, and Ingenium could well be on the way there, if could just glaze those rough edges. And if its enthusiastic production didn't start a good half hour late. And if they didn't break for a 15-minute interval 20 minutes later.