It was three evenings of fun and frolic for the kids, but the playwrights, cast and crew made sure the kids took a message back home

For three consecutive days, starting November 6 to 7, the premises of Shilpa Kala Vedika in the city saw a huge gathering of children from all over the city. The third edition of the three-day Hyderabad Children’s Theatre festival concluded amidst cheer, joy and a whole lot of hooting. Outside the auditorium was a carnival of sorts, complete with games, magicians, jugglers, books, chocolates and more. While a few eager beavers stood in line to get into the hall, a few hung around the chocolate stalls, pestering their parents to buy them some chocolates. Some kids dragged their mothers by whatever they could catch hold of to drag them into the auditorium to get the best seats, after all it was on the basis of first come, first serve. All the plays during the festival started reasonably on time and once the curtains lifted, it was fun, laughter and excitement thereon. Costumes, stage elements worked in favour for all the plays, including engaging props like masks, hats and giant pencils. The plays were interactive, especially ‘Monkey Business’ by Theatre Nisha from Chennai, where the stage monkeys called on to ‘audience monkeys’ to sing along with them. The songs from Karadi Tales are so catchy that they get stuck in your head. And before you know it, you’re singing ‘Stitch me a cap to look witty and stitch me a cap to look pretty’; it’s a harsh realisation that you don’t have a ‘Taklu Topiwala’ ready to stitch a cap for you!

The three plays staged during the festival were ‘Laal Pencil’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Fabulous Adventures of Aditi and Friends’ . ‘Laal Pencil’ by Aranya Theatre from Mumbai revolves around a young school girl who starts writing beautiful poetry because of a ‘magic red pencil’ and becomes popular amongst her peers. The play beautifully sketches the emotions of a child, where the child is forced to choose between truth and telling a lie and their innate desires to be liked by people. Amid all the chaos of emotions, the girls chooses to make a decision that stands right. The play has been directed by Manav Kaul. ‘Monkey Business’, adapted by V. Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha brought life to Karadi Tales with original recorded music to sing along to. The play takes the audience through the otherwise ‘Junglee’ and uncouth world of humans along with Damroo, who gives a lesson to the kids on the importance of being true to oneself. Metro and Chakku, and other monkeys keep the stage alive with their tantrums and antics. With the ‘Fabulous Adventures of Aditi and Friends’ by Rafiki from Bangalore, the audience got treated to the bizarre world of Aditi, where you meet a Giant and explore the world on an adventurous journey. The play written by Suniti Namjoshi and directed by Anish Victor used witty dialogue to create a mark with an exciting mix of shadow puppetry, movement and music. The play sends out a message that fear is just a handicap that can be easily overcome.

The Hindu was the media partner for the Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival.