Know All About Ithaka, The Annual English Literature And Theatre Festival Of St. Xaviers College, Mumbai

Know All About Ithaka, The Annual English Literature And Theatre Festival Of St. Xaviers College, Mumbai

The extravaganza encourages and provides opportunities to the college's brightest talent in the fields of acting, screenplay writing, direction, production, set design and stage technicals

Dr Priyaankaa MathurUpdated: Monday, February 05, 2024, 08:46 PM IST
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Ithaka, the annual English Literature and Theatre Festival of St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, is no less than an extravaganza that celebrates life. Joanne Panicker and Kyra Sparrow, Chairpersons of the Ithaka Fest, share interesting insights into the upcoming fiesta.

The Ithaka Fest, organised by the English Literature Department of St. Xavier’s College, is named after the famous poem Ithaka written by the renowned Greek Poet Constantine Cavafy. The poem depicts life as an allusion comparing the journey of Ulysses to that of every man, with a definite personal goal, which needs to be carried out with joy.

Ithaka connotes a joyful celebration of the journey of life — be it interesting endeavours, finding new things, places or relationships with a zeal to keep going strong to achieve one’s goals. Thus, Ithaka Fest is a platform to encourage and provide opportunities to the brightest talent in the college in the fields of acting, screenplay writing, direction, production, set design and stage technicals. The festival also puts up an assortment of short plays or sketches, literary events, and workshops.

Giving a brief historical sketch of the festival Joanne says, “The festival has crossed nearly three decades. Something that began as a week-long festival with a string of small plays, has been eventually re-arranged and re-organised over the years to what it is today; which allows the students to actualise their creativity to the best.”

Kyra further adds, “After a break of two years during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is almost the festival’s rebirth with a fresh feel and a lot more to offer to theatre enthusiasts. The pre-event activities this year are designed to create an awareness and the vibe that Ithaka is happening again.”

The pre-event celebration includes fun-filled activities like the Model Mentor Workshops, ‘Stop Pose & Express’, enabling students to master poses, perfect expressions, posture, and build confidence. One can experience an exciting twist at the end of the ramp, guided by professional mentors and trainers.

Joanne throwing light on the festival content says, “This year’s main theme centres around the adaptations of Shakespeare, who’s the greatest author of English literature, thus the festival is designed to materialise his tales into plays. The students this year have chosen some of the well-known plays to tell an entirely different story using their creativity and imagination based on Victorian and Edwardian themes."

Kyra further adds, “The best part is that the entire production is taken care of by the Ithaka committee run by the students of the English Department. This includes selecting themes, stage design, costumes, production, logistics, and creatives since the idea is to have it as a student-oriented festival. The festival is a space to explore talent within our students preparing them for the future to become directors, producers, actors, models and stage designers.”

Throwing light on the key highlights of the festival Joanne says, “The festival is more about reliving the world of English literature, bringing each character to life from the literature books while it’s depicted on the stage. This year will witness a lot of mixing of multiple theatrical elements, different narratives, and story twists to create renditions and adaptations of the four Shakespearean plays Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar.”

The festival is all set to unfold some exotic amalgamations, while the audiences can expect to see a crossover between comic characters with Shakespeare’s characters, which will be an exciting experience to keep guessing what’s coming next. While they might get to see William Shakespeare appear in one of the plays, or even Romeo and Juliet turning sinister; after all, who has ever caught the feathers of flying creativity!

Kyra adds, “Ithaka Fest provides a hands-on experience of a production house allowing the students to stage a play. It could have not been possible to put the festival together without Prof. Dr Rashmi Lee George, Head of the English Department, Prof. Prasita Mukherjee and Prof. Amrita Shenoy, who have been the guiding force behind the festival making it possible this year, which is good news for all theatre lovers.”

The festival has taken almost two months of preparations from start to finish from rehearsals, to managing costumes, props and sets for the presentations. Stage experts from production houses like Prithvi Theatre and Veda Factory, and theatre directors like Makarand Deshpande are being approached to come, appreciate and guide the students about the productions.

Get ready to be transported to the world of Shakespeare at the Ithaka Fest at St. Xavier’s College on February 9 and 10, along with a colourful Carnival with exotic food stalls, dance, and music.

The festival registration is on and visitors can purchase tickets offline from the college.

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