Bengaluru theatre just got a shot of crowdsourced enthusiasm with The Last Page Collective

Are you interested in plays, dance, music or any other form of creative art? Then, the Last Page Collective is here to give you a stage to perform. Their next show Up Next! is happening this Sunday
Last Page Collective group
Last Page Collective group

Art shouldn't be seen as a competition, everyone must get a chance to perform — this is what Prajwal HP, one of the core members of the Last Page Collective, believes in. Wondering what the Last Page Collective is though? It's a platform meant for youngsters to gather and perform in whichever art they are interested in. Formed in March 2019 by five people who are into theatre, plays, direction and acting, this stage has led people to explore the other side of themselves.

Prajwal, who is a final-year Mass Communication student, says, "Whenever there are college fests, everyone fights to get a platform to perform. But only some actually get the opportunity. That's when I thought that there should be an independent platform that's open to everyone. Hence, the Last Page Collective was born." Samragni Dasgupta, Tanya Ballal, Allen Benny MathewAkhil Issac John and Prajwal are the core members of the team. 

The team staged their first show on March 24, 2019, and it included music, dance, stand-up comedy and spoken word poetry. Prajwal says, "Art should not be restricted to plays and drama. Here, people can perform beatboxing, rap music, read out their poems and so on." Although it might sound like the team has hit the proverbial nail on the head with their inclusive initiative, they were unsure in the beginning if they would receive a positive response as they were a new group. But their mindsets changed quickly. "Our first show was crowdfunded and we were able to raise about ₹1 lakh. I think that that's one of the best contributions from the audience that an artist or a group can ever get. Apart from hosting our own shows, we also join other theatre groups and help them in marketing their plays. Lights Off Productions was one such group where we supported their play Edge of Heaven. Currently, we are also working with Shoonya — a space for performances, photoshoots, documentary shoots and so on — where we put them in touch with members of our group for various requirements."

A theatre performance by the artists from the Last Page Collective group

This relatively new yet already famous group of youngsters has already staged more than three plays in different parts of the tech city. Like their first show, the audience continues to encourage them by gathering in large numbers. Talking about one of their plays, Prajwal says, "We staged a play titled Footnotes on December 7 and 8, 2019. The play is about two people who meet at the railway station and fall in love. For me, falling in love for the first time is like listening to the sound of music and that's what is highlighted in this play. There are other aspects to this play, including AR Rahman's iconic songs from the 90s and how choices change according to gender."

Apart from this, the group has also staged a play titled Maat which was inspired by Yayati, a famous play written by the late Girish Karnad. It was directed by core member Samragni. "Directing and staging this play, in particular, was a blast for us as it happened at the famous performing arts theatre Ranga Shankara, in Bengaluru," says Prajwal. Team Last Page Collective's, Up Next! — a 'variety show by artists for artists' will be happening on February 9 at Courtyard Cafe in Bengaluru. 

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