Singapore’s first and only Hindi Theatre Festival, Dastak, opened to a full house with aplomb at the Stamford Arts Centre, with a traditional lighting of the lamp and a quick introduction to the directors of the 10 plays.
A pure theatre experience of 10 Hindi plays of 10 minutes each, well subtitled in English for the multilingual-multicultural audience, received enthusiastic applause on its opening night.
The plays all carried some message related to Singapore where a special mention goes to Bus # 43 which told a gripping yet sweet tale of foreign workers from India in Singapore.
Different genres covering aspects from comedy to thrill, and emotions with many different themes and interpretations were seen in the tensome presented this year.
The actors for each of the plays were well cast. Most being working professionals with full time jobs, their passion for acting is seen through their dedication and commitment to acting in Dastak 2019.
“I was given just one vote to cast for my favourite play and it was tough to choose just one", remarked Sriram at the end of the show.
"The only downside is that the viewer doesn't have time for reflection after a play. Now I'm thinking about all the clever little touches, lines, props in the various plays but I'm sure I missed several", said Vidya, a member of the audience at the end of the opening performance.
"It is indeed a theatrical extravaganza that takes one through all the emotions - there is laughter, comedy, tragedy, anguish, pain - one can relate to the various situations enacted. More strength to Dastak!" said Shagun who had a ringside view of the stage on the opening night.
Some familiar faces from the Singapore MC and DJ scenes were seen giving creditable performances with pretty long dialogues completely rendered in Hindi, with nary a cue in sight.
References to Singapore spaces such as Esplanade, Tekka (now known as Little India), familiar roads, buses that ply familiar routes and some Singlish thrown in for good measure, made this Indian diaspora presentation a uniquely Singaporean production.
If you are a theatre aficionado Dastak's Hindi theatre festival, a professional production with a huge bunch of talented artists and creative directors ought to definitely be on your calendar.
Tickets for the Dastak 2019 running from 14 to 17 November are completely sold out for all days as per the latest update.