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With all the ingredients of a pantomime

The audience loved the way the Stella Maris College group had adapted ``Joseph And... Dreamcoat," writes ELIZABETH ROY.



The students came up trumps ... taking liberties with the original. — Pic. by V. Ganesan

STELLA MARIS College indulged their students with a very lavish production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat." The 23-strong cast backed by a 60-strong crew played to six packed houses at the Chinmaya Heritage Hall.

Director Yog Japee added his characteristic touch to the production. He guided his team of students into adapting the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice script to the expectations of the student crowd. They re-wrote much of the script in rhyming sentences and wherever possible punned on words. Judging from the response, it went down well with the audience and drew much laughter. The team also broke through the sanctity of the traditional Webber-Rice productions by letting the play move back and forth in time, in terms of topical references and identity of characters.

The Pharaoh ensconced in the splendour of the Egyptian throne was dressed and side burned like Elvis Presley and tried to imitate him. The sutradhar-team was a pair of gypsies called Yoko Nono and Stringo Star. The central motif of the play was the potty, quite obviously drawn from the character Potiphar (of Old Testament fame). The gallery loved it. On a second take, the production had all the ingredients of a pantomime that creates a fun mood and attracts the public at large. There was a good deal dancing to the original lyrics and scores. The college choir, which has always stood out for the quality of their singing, did a fairly good job but the power and force of the original was missing. The costumes were well designed and elaborate. Special mention must be made of the costume and make-up of the "coat," who functioned as a coat hanger mannequin and Joseph's alter ego.

The most impressive aspect of the production was perhaps the sets designed by Thotaa Tharani. They were realistic, of massive proportion and done in great detail and executed by the students of the Fine Arts Department.

The scenes shifted from Joseph's humble home to the way side, to the palace in Egypt, to the grey zone of dreams. There were no visible compromises in terms of the nature of the execution and the materials used. There were also some good performances. Swati Das as Yoko Nono impressed with her body language.

She sang and danced like a dream, and was consistent with her level of energy and the marionette like rendition of the part.

Priyanka Joseph as Potiphar and Nalina Gopal as Joseph also turned in well delineated performances.

One looks back with envy at the level of energy that a young group of Stella Maris students could generate and the joy and exuberance they exuded and a management that indulged them with such a lavish production.

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