An Encouraging Act

Doing well in life is part hard work, part talent and part opportunity. Ask winners of the third one-act play competition organised by Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The contestants of the competition would agree that being at the right place at the right time made all the difference.

Titled "Thane Mahapour Karandak Ekankika Spardha", (Thane Mayor’s Trophy for one-act play), the competition saw participation by 40 teams from Thane and neighbouring suburbs. The preliminary round was held on January 31 and February 01, from which 16 teams qualified for the final round, which was held on 14 and 15 February at the Gadkari Rangayatan. Each act last for approximately 45 minutes and the performances of the teams, which comprised of budding actors, impressed the audience and the judges alike.

For those who are not familiar with what a one-act play is, it is the theatre equivalent of a short story or film – the scope of its plot and theme is limited. A typical one-act script follows a small cast of characters dealing with a specific set of circumstances through a brief period of time. It has all the conventional elements of theme, plot, character, and dialogue. It tells a story, albeit a short one, has a definite beginning, middle, and end, and shows significant change or growth in the main character. An audience invests less of their time viewing a one-act play, so scripts can be more adventurous in subject and far more flexible in form.

The judges for the final round were Charusheela Sable Vachani, Film and TV personality and wife of Late Ajit Vachani, screen and threatre writer Ashok Patawde and Theatre Director Ravinder Divekar. TV Actress Smriti Irani and Vinayak Raut, Shiv Sena’s Sampark Pramukh for Thane city, were the chief guests at the prize distribution ceremony, which was held on the evening of February 15 at Rangayatan. Other dignitaries present at the event included Prakash Paranjpe, Sanjay Kelkar and Prabhakar Sawant.  

The first prize, which comprised of Rs 10,000 and the Mayor’s Trophy went to the play titled "The Model" organised by Kala Abhiyan from Thane. Hemangi Kavi, Nilesh Bhare and Janardhan Jadhav, won the best actress, actor and writer awards respectively for the act. The second prize of Rs 7501 went to the act titled "Aamhi Ekankika Shodhta Hai" by a theatre group in Mumbai called Sheov. "Kalki" by Savendana Parivar in Mumbai won the third prize worth Rs 5001.

Smriti Irani, in her address during the prize distribution ceremony, said that she was impressed by the quality of talent that we had in our country. She applauded the efforts of TMC is providing a platform to the promising stage artists via such competitions and also appreciated the enthusiasm of the people of Thane for turning up in such large numbers. She advised the artists to remain dedicated to their art as that was the key to success. Irani wasn’t the only one impressed. Prakash Paranjpe said that TMC’s primary role might be of providing civic facilities, but it is its moral responsibility to promote culture, which is akin to taking care of not just the physical but also the mental health of the city. He also liked the idea of organising the event at Rangayatan, which is a good omen for an upcoming actor who is presenting his or her first major performance in front of the public.  

The one-act play competition is a wonderful grooming ground for local talent. It is an opportunity for up-and-coming acting talent to present their work in public and to have it adjudicated in public. The contestants compete not only for prizes but also for a chance to go to the bigger league: professional theatre, television and films.

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