'KISS', a two-day theatre festival, promises more than just 15 minutes of fame! 

As interesting as the title is, this theatre festival encourages short plays and has a line-up of some well-known names along with amateurs

author_img Rupam Jain Published :  31st March 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  31st March 2023 12:00 AM
Denver Anthony Nicholas

Denver Anthony Nicholas at the launch of KISS

Don’t get carried away by the title. It’s catchy enough to have your attention instantly. Well, that’s the whole point! But what we mean to say is, there’s a lot more to the title than what you may think when you hear it. For one, KISS, yes that’s what this two-day theatre festival is called, actually breaks down to Keeping It Slightly Short. Also, the ‘I’ and the first ‘S’ translate into 15, as the tagline aptly states ‘15 minutes of fame’.

We know; now, you are wondering why 15? As the title suggests, this festival is about short form plays; 15 minutes to be precise. Interesting, ain’t it? We  recently celebrated World Theatre Day and have come to understand how theatre has changed and evolved over the years to be welcoming and encouraging of newer innovative formats. KISS fits perfectly in.

Also read: World Theatre Day: Theatre was. Is. And, always will be!

Keeping It Slightly Short is a festival of short plays that is open to theatre companies, independent directors and performers to showcase their work,” says Denver Anthony Nicholas of Poochu’s Productions, who is presenting this festival.

Michael Muthu at the launch event 

Interestingly, Poochu’s Productions is named after one of their former team members who they lost to the pandemic in 2020. “I had my own company, and Poochu was part of a dance company. He was the youngest and most endearing member of our team. He was only 25 when we lost him to COVID. After the pandemic, when we came back to work, we decided that we didn’t want to go as two companies anymore, because we had already formed a team. And we called it Poochu’s Productions. Poochu wanted to sing and act, but he didn’t get a chance. He was a dancer, and when he was about to become part of a musical and finally get to act, that’s when COVID took the world by storm… he passed away,” shares Denver with a heavy heart.

Also read: Rajiv Krishnan's 'Birds' is a social satire

KISS is in memory of Poochu who was a dreamer and an artiste, and Denver tells us that they are hosting this festival to create a platform for talent and experience to come together to share mentorship, guidance and enable learning for those who dream of the stage. “We want to provide a space for the theatre fraternity irrespective of experience and familiarity to come together under one roof,” he says.
The two-day theatre festival will have 20 plays of 15 minutes each, by 20 different theatre teams. There are 10 plays in English and 10 in Tamil. Out of the 20 plays, 14 are by seasoned theatre practitioners and six are presented by newcomers.

At the launch event

“The process started two months back when we sent out the invites for KISS, after which we began short-listing. Of course, some of the people performing are those I have personally invited to be a part of the festival; but there are also young groups who we shortlisted. And because this is our first edition, we are hosting only 20 plays. Hopefully, the next edition will have 40!”says an excited Denver, adding that they are looking at giving the audience an opportunity to experience theatre as a wholesome way to spend their time with the promise of diversity of ideas, scripts and performances.

Also read: 7 Against 11 and The Peacock Prince pick up pages from history

What’s more? There will be awards for six categories in excellence for theatre. Denver says, “We have six awards in total, among which one is for a debutant actor, and another for an experienced actor. Each of these awards carry a cash prize of Rs10k; and for the Best Production, there is a cash prize of Rs25k. It is our way of encouraging participants. We want to keep raising the bar and contribute towards the growth of theatre.”

20 plays to watch out for!

Delusion of the Reprive : Madras Theatre
| Writer & Director: Rayyan Thenmalaikhan

Mail Order Coup: Sukanya Umesh

|Writer & Director: Sukanya Umesh

Airborne Blank Slate
| Director: Charles Britto

Bharatmata: Theatre Nisha 
| Director: V Balakrishnan

Avusari: Naveena Kuthupatrai
| Director: Aathif

Among Us: Red Nose Theatre 
| Director: Teephan Raj

People You Know: Namritha Kalai
| Director: Namritha Kalai

Naan Kaduval: John Pradeep (JL)
| Director: John Pradeep JL

A Play Full of Questions: Kael Theatre
| Writer & Director: Jayachandran R

The Tallest is the Loneliest: Ragala Theatre
| Writer & Director: Venkataraghavan Subha Srinivasan

Cheta Oru Tea: The Artists Block
| Director: Suhas Vaidya

Vilai: Karthik Gowrishankar
| Writer & Director: Karthik Gowrishankar

OTP: Mirroz Theatre
| Writer & Director: Navneeth

Clark and Bruce: Straight Jacket Production
| Director: Kiran Thomas

Kaalam Kalamaga: Theatre Collab
| Director: Shravan Ramakrishnan 

The Man Who Couldn't Dance: Masquerade
| Director: KK

Sure Thing: Prasanth Oliver
| Director: Prasanth Oliver

Turing and Lisa: Karuppanai Kuthirai
| Writer & Director: Vedarun Rajkumar

Makka Kupai : Theatre Karan
| Writer & Director: Divagar Ravi

A Terrible Combination: Spill the Beans
| Writer & Director: Vinithra and Shalini

April 1-2. 1 pm and 6 pm.
Alliance Française de Madras.