Acting on stage was another one of my loves (along with Reading and Painting). I used to take part in one-act plays and solo performances back in school. This continued into college with taking part in Youth Festivals and one off theatre plays. I did try to pursue it after finishing college for some time, but, just like most of us, getting a “job” became more important than following another one of my passions. Just like painting, acting also took a backseat to achieving a successful career. So, again when it came to Aarohi’s homeschooling, we were very clear that theatre would be one of the performance Arts that we would definitely encourage her to partake in. So, the search for a Drama school began in Dubai. We came across a couple of schools at DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre) located in Mall of The Emirates, viz., Drama Scene and KidsTheatreWorks. Ultimately we chose the later. Snehal met the owner Miss Hazel and Aarohi started going to her weekly classes.
After the completion of her 1st semester, Miss Hazel called us for a parent viewing session. What we saw that day was absolutely delightful. We got to see how much fun Aarohi was having with her acting mates and got a glimpse of how Miss Hazel was conducting them in class. This was everything we were hoping for and much more. I even got to take part in one of the activities and felt like a child again. After the session, we got a chance to talk to her on a one on one basis. She gave us an idea about how she got into theatre, left it for some time, then got back in and started the classes. I went on to let her know about my past involvement in acting on stage and how I would be open to volunteering if she required any help around the place. When she heard this, she encouraged me to look up Short+Sweet Dubai on facebook. So I did just that. Incidentally, I got a call for auditions by veteran playwright Alex Broun for his first ever Play Festival in Dubai based on 40 of his short stories. One thing led to another and I got cast by Writer/Director Purva Grover of The Indian Trumpet in the Hinglish (Hindi/English) adaptation of one of Alex’s plays ‘The Celine Dion Songbook’ called ‘Bas Ek Pal’.
Meeting my director Purva and co-actors Mandy and Joaquim for the first time was such a pleasure. We exchanged stories about our past endeavours in Theatre and our common interest in taking part in Dubai’s onstage community. Purva explained her views of how she wanted to execute Alex’s English play in Hinglish and wanted to add the offstage child character, onstage. A few other ideas were bounced around and then we finalised on going ahead with Purva’s brilliant idea. We started meeting at Purva’s residence for rehearsals and the painstaking process of bringing her vision to life began in full earnest. We tried to get together as often as possible and had such a great time acting together. I’ve taken away so many beautiful memories with everyone which will stay with me for the rest of my life. Taking part in this play has reinforced my ambition to encourage Aarohi to also participate in onstage plays. Whether she does it or not will be entirely her call. During our rehearsals and also tech rehearsals just hours before the performance, Joaquim took the trouble of clicking a few pictures (some were taken by Purva also) and here they are for your viewing pleasure:
Finally, on the day of the performace, it was all pins and needles for us. We went on to give an unforgettable performance, if I may say so myself. Mandy was a force to recon with and her flawless delivery helped me in executing my own performance with emotions and actions galore. It was such a meaty role for the both of us and I can’t write enough about the depth that Joaquim brought to the play. His performace left the audience fighting back tears. It was such a storke of genious on Purva’s part. Also, to my total delight, Hazel was taking part in a couple of plays during the Festival along with backstage responsibilities. It was so cool to perform on the same stage as Aarohi’s Drama Teacher and we became good friends during the event. One of Joaquim’s friends, Ahmad Sahmoud recorded our performance during the play. Ladies and Gents…presenting ‘Bas Ek Pal’ a Hinglish adaptation of the Alex Broun short play ‘The Celine Dion Songbook’ by Director Purva Grover of The Indian Trumpet, starring Abhijit Roy, Mandeep Walia, & Joaquim Gonsalves, recorded by Ahmad H. Sahmoud…performed during the Alex Broun Play Festival at The Junction…enjoy…!!!