Into its third year of production, Nanyang Technological University’s Tamil Literary Society’s Uthraa 2016 is all set to dazzle its audiences come 6 February 2016, Saturday. So, what can you expect this year? What will be different? What is going to make Uthraa 2016 stand out from its past productions as well as other stage productions in Tamil?
Kumaran Tamilselvam, Chairman of the Uthraa 2016 Core Committee, and Suganthi Periasamy, Publications Director of NTU’s Tamil Literary Society, took some time off their hectic schedules to answer those questions and more.
Q: In your opinion, how will this year’s Uthraa production differ from the one presented two years ago in 2014?
We have infused elements of technology into this stage production which has not been done by many out there. Not only have we experimented with new elements, but we have also expanded the boundaries of a stage play and have attempted to set new limits.
Q: What do you think the audience should be expecting from the upcoming Uthraa 2016 production?
From the very moment the audience enters the Nanyang Auditorium, they can expect to leave reality behind at the entrance and enter our juxtaposed world which was crafted out of our own creativity and imagination. They will become one of us, so to speak.
Q: How have you used the feedback and constructive criticism that followed the 2014 production in order to make the current one a better performance?
We have added in more substance to our storyline and we have included more dances into the production as well. Moreover, we have been working on bigger props which will breathe life into our production.
Q: How has everyone working on this production been able to effectively juggle both academics and the arts?
S.P.: Our production team is filled with committed individuals and we are driven by the passion to put up a great production. We spend a lot of time together not only during the preparation for our production, but also to study. There are many seniors in the TLS, thus it is rather convenient for us juniors to clear our academic related doubts with them immediately.
K.T.: I have only one word for this – passion.
Q: What are some of the signiﬁcant challenges faced by yourselves or by any of your crew members during the course of this production?
S.P.: I am the Public Relations Officer and hence I am in charge of ticketing matters. Thus, I have to be meticulous in keeping accurate records and be extremely careful when handling the tickets. Moreover, I am also acting in the production. Since it is my first time acting in a stage drama, I initially found it difficult to step out of my comfort zone and take up another persona.
K.T.: Personally, as Chairman, the most daunting task is to ensure that everyone is well taken care of and that their needs are looked into. I also have to handle issues on the ground and make the final call, based on the situation at hand. It isn’t that easy when multiple parties are involved. Nevertheless, it’s all for the betterment of Uthraa 2016.
Q: Within the Indian community, and in particular with regards to the youth, do you think enough attention is being paid to the arts scene?
S.P.: Yes, I certainly think that there is enough attention given to the arts scene within the Indian community. Youth like us have the opportunity to showcase our talent and garner support via the multiple social media platforms. We are also awarded recognition and encouraged to achieve even more in the arts field, which might even turn out to be our future career.
K.T.: Yes, I can safely say that within the Indian community, regardless of whether it is Generation X, Y or Z, everyone is more or less aware of the Indian arts scene in Singapore given that most of us are on social media these days. But I must add that the media (be it television or radio) is not giving enough opportunities or exposure for such productions to reach out to our potential audience. All they request for is money in return for advertising which is not fair to our upcoming productions, regardless of whether they are executed by students or full fledged production houses.
Q: Complete the sentence, “Everyone should come down to watch Uthraa 2016 because…”
S.P.: It is not just an ordinary production, but a show that will bring you through a memorable journey offered by the members of the NTU Tamil Literary Society.
K.T.: Each and every single one of us are fueled by passion, talent, blood, sweat and tears to showcase our love for the arts.
Nanyang Technological University’s Tamil Literary Society’s Uthraa 2016, which has been put together by about 120 students, is happening on 6 February 2016, Saturday, at the Nanyang Auditorium at 6.30pm.
Tickets from the $18 and $15 categories have all been snapped up. Only $12 tickets remain. Get them before they are sold out! Visit the NTU Tamil Literary Society Facebook page here for more details.