Interview with Disha Sukhija : Bringing Avant-Garde back into Drama, with Shunya!

Interview By – Aastha Jain 

“Rejoice in the language of drama, 

For life, its timorous. 


Sadness is nothing but accumulated account of sins. 


Celebrate the faintly percepted pain


As all else is pitiable translation.”


– Namita Unnmuktaa (Team Born Of A Million Thoughts) 

The President of one of the most prestigious drama societies at Delhi University, Shunya, from the esteemed Ramjas College, Miss Disha Sukhija opens up about her love for theatre in an exclusive tete-a-tete with us! 
 

 
As the annual street play festival of Ramjas college, Mukhatib draws close, we catch up with the society president about the work pressure, team efforts, essence behind this years topic and much more. 
Theatre enthusiasts, take notes from the maestro! 

1. Being the President of one of the most prestigious Drama Circuits in DU, comes with herculean responsibility, a careful perusing of tasks and most importantly, keeping calm all the while! What’s your secret?



The responsibility is of course herculean, but my job is simply to allocate work and maintain the standards of the society. 

Everything comes to me, from invitations to participation offers. Invites get classified according to whether they are for street theatre or staged.
  

Every two to four weeks (depending on the necessity), we hold a general body meeting, discussing all offers and issues. I, personally, do not take any decisions on behalf of the society.

 I am a pitcher. We discuss all offers and opportunities, decide what we are interested in and what will benefit the society. I act as a link between the college authorities, drama societies of other colleges and external companies and our society. 
Perusing tasks and the drive to get work done comes naturally and because of the post. I was elected, therefore, realised a lot of people had faith in me. I owe it to them and to myself, since I stood and took on the challenge.
To be honest, I am not calm all the time. I shout when I am angry and am known for my scolding and tirades of disavowal. 

However, I stay myself. If I am disappointed, I tell the society why. I think I am a member first, and a president later. I do not alter my opinions according to my post. It all comes very naturally and I’m glad I have a society that understands and appreciates me. By the time one is used to the post, the year is over. 

I’ve been learning all along and I’m thankful to have such a supportive society. I don’t think they judge me when I’m hyper or disrespect me because they know I don’t mean any harm and act for the welfare of the society. We all learn and grow together.
2. What is about Shunya, according to you, that sets it apart from the drama societies?
  

 I’ve seen that most colleges have separate societies- for street and stage, Hindi and English. The beauty of Shunya is that our society incorporates all. One can get experience in street, Hindi staged and English stage.

 There are no restrictions or rules imposed by anyone on Shunya. We make our own rules (after countless discussions) and maintain them too. 

We believe in keeping the atmosphere healthy- only senior members are not responsible for conducting activities or providing opinions. 

Every member has a say about their opinion, which is respected and considered by all members. Alumni members are also kept in the loop and come often to give their advice and opinions.
3. Tell us about this year’s theme for Mukhatib?


Mukhatib 2016 is on the theme of Education. 

Education is the best way to equip a country and ensure advancement. However, we often forget it’s importance and make it a privilege- unavailable to all. Our college, Ramjas is completing 100 years and Mukhatib is paying a tribute to the Founder, Rai Kedar Nath Ji and the Theatre legend, Mr. Ebrahim Alkazi. 
  

The vision of Kedar Nath Ji encompasses the theme of Education- he built the institution because he encouraged higher education and wanted it to be available to the common masses. 

On the other hand, Alkazi Ji believed in thorough research in theatre, making education and knowledge an integral part of his plays.
4. In a place where creativity runs free, creative differences are bound to happen. What is your mantra to deal with them?



Shunya has diverse people from all courses of the college, differences in all matters frequently occur. Everyone gets to speak their opinion and justify it. 

We listen to every one and debate over all matters. However, we always manage to narrow it down as learning in the same creative space ensures similar ideologies. If we are unable to narrow down, we put the matter to vote and majority wins.

5.  What should one look out for, at the Mukhatib’16?
We select 8 teams after watching their performances and reading their scripts. Their themes vary and so does execution. Under one platform, one can see various social issues being addressed and depicted. 

It is all very visually appealing and interesting. Even if you are not into theatre and social issues do not intrigue you, the young energy and passion will surely pull some string in you.
The discussion: 

Once all 8 teams have performed, we sit down for a discussion. We invite one expert (judge) who provides a valuable opinion to all the teams, who often revert, justifying and explaining their motive and issue. 

We all discuss each others plays and take feedback from the audience too. This discussion is informally conducted and benefits our entire society, and hopefully all those associated with the event.



We, at Born Of A Million Thoughts hope everybody takes home some wisdom through Mukhatib’16 as Education is the only recuperative force, to rescue us from the deafening gravitas of the interesting times we, as a Nation-State are struggling with. 


Good Luck Shunya! 

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