Events: 2015 -16

The Innovation Workshop 2015

MAIS, December 2nd-5th 2015
For the third time, Mallya Aditi International School in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin (TCD), hosted The Innovation Workshop. Inviting schools across Bangalore to participate, the workshop aims to break down the barrier between science and art – celebrating yo
ung scientific spirit with creativity.
The Innovation Workshop of December 2nd-5th 2015 was woven around the theme of “Seeing”. Deliberately mis-spelt “Seieng” posters pasted around the campus enigmatically advertised this carnival of science and design.

The theme was aptly launched with a riveting Bharatnatyam display by Gayatri Narayan. This was followed by Dr. Mukund Thattai’s key-note where he drew attention to the incredible symmetry inherent in our palms. The artist and the scientist seemed to intuitively blend the worlds of science and art. Science and design are all around us, they seemed to say, in the palms of our hands, in the soles of our feet.

The workshop challenged our conception of seeing. We interrogated quotidian objects and ideas, as well as the rarer, such as the anti-paparazzi light-deflecting jacket, in an attempt to better understand how nuanced seeing is. Participants were thrown daily into a new set of interactive sessions: The visual aesthetic of food; The May-pole and emergent patterns through choreographed movement; Insect vision; The physiology of colour; Seeing at the atomic scale; and, Questioning how culture determines seeing.

This spectrum of activities geared students towards the ultimate scientific-creative challenge: metaphorising the scientific ideas they had encountered into creative installations. Students were divided into mixed groups and briefed that they must transform their conceptual understandings into visual, tangible art.

68 students ran around MAIS’s high school terrace asking questions like “ Is your red the same as my red?”, or muttering more philosophical utterances about “seeing beyond seeing”, and despairing at man’s general reluctance to see beyond the obvious. This young scientific spirit culminated in a display of installations that demonstrated the synergy of science and art. Audiences could create their own canvas using kitchen chemistry; brave strange concoctions brewed to beguile the taste buds; interact with a D-I-Y kaleidoscope or shadow ambigram; look at the world through red- or blue- tinted glasses, or, alternatively, through the eyes of different animals.

The closing ceremony saw Dr. Ram Subramanian urge us to revise our view of the world, specifically the humble cockroach which he transformed from pest to a potential solution to global food crisis.

Examining, scrutinizing, and interrogating; perspective, colour, spectrum; these were just some of the ways we at the Innovation Workshop saw, and learned to see, in December 2015.

Agatha Christie’s famous play, Witness for the Prosecution

On September 30th and October 1st, at the Alliance Française, a band of 11th graders braved the challenge of performing Agatha Christie’s famous play, Witness for the Prosecution. Considering the Christie’s fame, the complexity of the story, and pressure of retelling such a magnificent piece, it is sufficient to call their rendition an incontrovertible success.

Based on Christie’s novel by the same name, Witness for the Prosecution details the trial of the naive Leonard Vole, accused of murdering the rich Ms. Emily French. Sir Wilfrid—Vole’s lawyer—initially believes the case to be a simple one, no different from the dozens he has encountered before. That is, until Vole’s “remarkable” and calculating wife, Romaine, volunteers not to help defend her husband, but to help convict him. Dripping with all the drama of a classic courtroom suspense, the story seizes and holds the audience’s attention through heartbreak, humor, and a truly shocking twist.

Direction by Suravi Banerjee was sublime. Being able to lift a group of harebrained students to near-professional performers in the span of simply two months is no small feat.
Lighting and set-design by the Backstage Boys and Mr. Rajanna were as beautiful as ever. From the moment the audience caught its first glimpse of the formal stage, to the single-spotlight ending, the play’s many moments of tension were perfectly accentuated.

Casting must definitely be praised. The Judge, delightfully dry and condescending, Leonard Vole, perfectly pitiable, and Mr. Mayhew, intelligent and good-natured. There were other stars as well – Sir Wilfrid, with his commanding presence, owned the role of a shrewd, cynical and learned barrister completely; the formidable Miss Myers who matched the defence lawyer step for step; the delightful Greta, as well as our fiesty “Len’s Girl”; Carter, who felt the sanctity of a lawyer’s chambers had to be protected; the jury and the usher who maintained admirable sangfroid; Mr. Barton, Dr. Wyatt, Janet Mackenzie, Inspector Hearne and Thomas Clegg in excellent support. And finally, there was Romaine, unfazed in an unsympathetic role, carrying off the part with complete conviction.

In conclusion, any person who did not attend at least one of the shows sorely missed out on a lovely evening, and would be well-advised to see what next year’s students will bring.

Performances were followed up by interaction between students and members of the theatre group.

Keep Calm and #ashtag, A Play for students and teachers

The Theatre Professionals Group, a Mumbai based theatre group, performed ‘Keep Calm and #ashtag’ for students and teachers of Std 8 to 12.

The play looked at the collisions of real and virtual spaces and the drama that unfolds. The absurd, funny and sometimes painful episodes connected through hyperlinks to a fast-paced ride into the violence of gender construction in teenage years. The play sought to provoke a healthy dialogue around the complexities that young people face in defining who they are as men and women, and the ways in which they navigate real and cyberspace in their everyday lives.

Performances were followed up by interaction between students and members of the theatre group.