Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A theatre of sleepless artistes

When you look at the 'About' column of DJ's Ensomneacks' Facebook page, it describes itself as, 'Providing not just the spot, but limelight to talented youngsters!' So, were the words of Vikram Dhanasekar, the founder of the organisation, when I had an interaction with him recently.

Team DJ's Ensomneacks
Hailing from Vadapalani, Chennai, Vikram shared a lot about his successful journey as a theatre producer who has brought on over 100 theatre talents to spot light with in a span of just one and a half years. DJ's Ensomneacks, unlike other contemporary theatres, recently hosted a full length musical standup solo show, 'JK Sila Sirippugal' featuring comic Jagan Krishnan. In the sidelines of this show, I caught up with Vikram. Here are the excerpts.

Q1. So how did you happen to be a theatre artiste and a producer?

I was working for a private firm at Coimbatore when I first decided to enter theatres. By the time when I launched DJ's Ensomneacks in Januray 2016, I had already quit my job and was jobless. Earlier, I also had approached a lot of theatres to be a part of them. Most of them were not ready to give me a chance on stage and so, I finally decided to start a theatre by myself with a crew of just eight members. In the mean time, we had learnt a lot about stage plays and finally our first production kicked off in July 2016 and now we are here.

Q2. How was your experience when you played your first production on stage?

Ever since it's inception, my company has been involving a lot of freshers both in the cast and in the crew. It is primarily because, I know how people are struggling to get an opportunity to expose their talents, since I had come through all such hard times when searching for opportunities in a lot of theatres around. So, our first production, 'Don’t Dress for Dinner', based on a play written by Marc Camoletti, had six actors and of course, all of us were debutantes. Not even us, but the crew too was of debutantes. Though, the cast and crew were new, our first production was successful and took us to places. It was all because of the time we took to learn about stage plays. From writing a script to lighting set up, we took an ample time to understand all aspects of a theatre and had implied the same in our first production and so, we were successful.

Q3. In the evolution of digital platforms like YouTube Channels, where one can get humour materials on fingertips, do you think, people are ready to spend time for watching a 100 minute stage play?

Why not? If you are ready to wake up in the wee hours and wait at a cinema hall on the first day first show of the film starred by your demigod-actor, why not you step into a drama theatre in a weekend evening to enjoy a full length comedy show. I agree, that the evolution of digital media has been eating arts like stage play. But, still, if we are ready with a good content, that will make people laugh, clap and enjoy, we can expect success any time at our door step.

Vikram Dhanasekar
Q4. So, what are all the ways you adopt to attract audience to your show amidst this digital revolution?

Simple. Go by the digital way itself. The way we promoted Jagan's solo show is the example. The way it is promoted in Facebook and other social media is the first impression we make. Like wise, we have some conventional methods like sticking posters in cafes, shops, colleges and workplaces. Also, we have campus ambassadors in a lot of colleges in town, who will sell tickets for us in their college. And, to be honest, for the first show, I had to call every one of my friends over the phone inviting them to watch the show. It happened the same way for all eight of us in the team. But, when the first show clicked, it took off and the brand DJ's Ensomneacks started to build its own trust among theatre going audience and a step ahead, we also started to attract non-theatre audience too.

Q5. Why is it a stand up solo show all of sudden from a theatre production company?

For Jagan, he has been travelling with us for over a year and is well known for his musical stand up show. But, until this solo show, we had been using Jagan as an opener or a head liner for our show. So, before a play starts, Jagan will be performing an icebreaker for about 10 to 15 minutes. But, we wanted to bring out the fullest of him and that's how this happened. Interestingly, this  time, we did a 10 minute small humour play as an icebreaker before his 70 minutes solo stand up.

Q6. What are all in pipe line?

We are going to perform some of our shows in various cities of South India. In the mean time we are also doing a play in Singapore next January. Following this, we have a plan to conduct workshops on theatres. Our next big project would be musical theatre, involving a collation of Tamil cinema's music legacy starting from MSV to Anirudh. So, that's how  it goes.

- Santhosh Mathevan,
Chennai, Dec 6, 2017.

DJ's Ensomneacks can be contacted at 9566160480. They are officially put up at G1,No:20 Senthil Andavar Street, Dhanalakshmi Colony, Vadapalani.

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