For the child in us

The Tale of Haruk was a fantastical journey into the psyche of contemporary society and a tragically funny take on what humanity has been reduced to — consumers in a homogenous global world.

The metaphor of Haruk was brought alive beautifully, using movement, music and puppets. The design of movement and music in many parts was almost meditative and contemplative, allowing the audience to fill in the silences with their own interpretations.

It was truly a children's play which spoke with hope to the child inside every one of us.

Vinodhini Vaidynathan, Mandaveli

Haruk-ed!

Haruk! Haruk! HARUK!... could be translated to any superlative that the Director Bay Yo Sup so well deserves. The agile and versatile performers brought out the simple storyline, especially Haruk`s tantrums excellently, aided by the innovative sound effects produced from recyclable materials.

It was wonderful to watch the puppets grow to humongous proportions, especially the greed-filled Stomach in contrast to his tiny parents. The silence in the auditorium, despite the presence of children, spoke volumes for the lighting and costumes.

A visual treat for children and adults with a powerful message: Do not give in to everything your children ask for; those PSPs and other gadgets will make them as greedy as Haruk, and finally, you as parents will have no life to live!

Krishna Iyer, Tiruvanmiyur

Creativity to the fore

The play with its colourful masks and puppets was a treat for youngsters in the audience. A straightforward narration with innovative live and background music.

It was stunning to see how Haruk grew to such a giant size. The miniature light and shadow sequence, and the dream scene were excellent too. A visual treat indeed!

V. Muthukrishnan, Nungambakkam

An exotic tapestry

The Tale of Haruk was at once simple and unusual. The use of ordinary materials to create magical notes and simple props to bring out varied expressions were too good to be true. The masks, the sets and the background score kept the audience glued to their seats. The use of the puppets in the last scene reminded me of our own leather puppets, which storytellers use to narrate a tale. The story, the music and the sets were interwoven to create an exotic tapestry.

Shwetha R, Kalakshetra Road

Magical

The evening saw every member of the audience transported to the realm of Haruk. The Tale of Haruk is one of those plays that fully exploit the magic of theatre, with its elements of paper puppets, masks, music, lights and effects, the articulate performers seamlessly gliding through their different roles as musicians, puppeteers, jesters and actors. When the young Haruk haruked about the stage, one couldn’t help but adore him and at the end, when the old couple decided to end their lives satiating the Haruk’s hunger, one was touched by their unconditional love. Comical, magical, mesmerising and original, The Tale of Haruk was an unforgettable experience.

Janani Venkatesh, Mylapore

More than just a play

The Tale of Haruk was more than just a play; it was like a dance drama that could be enjoyed by children as well as adults. If you were looking for a major philosophical discussion after the play, this one was obviously the wrong choice. The highlights were the creative costumes, props and musical instruments. It almost seemed like a street play with just five actors who acted, sang, danced, played music and even changed their costumes on stage. The audience were ‘totally Harukked’.

Anuradha Krishnan, Mylapore

Beautiful imagery

It was the fusion of a quirky musical prologue, a melancholic introduction of Haruk's parents, and the soul that the performers seemed to be channelling in their characters, that set the platform; it wasn't a platform for just any tale. It was the platform for a folktale. The story of Haruk is quite tragic — the essence of tragedy is first showcased in Haruk's parents' comically nihilistic lives. In the midst of exquisitely expressionistic and folksy art direction are idiosyncratic, genuinely amusing characters. The humour actually takes the audience's attention away from how distressed the characters in the play really are. Featuring some of the most hauntingly beautiful theatre imagery ever seen our city, The Tale of Haruk is a celebration of storytelling. From shadow puppetry to surreal enormous entities, it's in the visual and aural storytelling that lie love and light. In the story itself lies darkness.

Gautama Ramesh, Kotturpuram

No child's play

From the opening music that had a Dave Brubeck feel to the titular character whose vocabulary was confined to the word ‘Haruk, every act had something to keep one interested. The children in the audience had moments to ponder as well as relish. Though it was a play for children, staging it was no child’s play. The music made from trash, the gargantuan sets which were splendid yet minimalistic, the ample use of lights, shadow play and puppetry… all made for some great theatre moments. The word ‘Haruk’ has no meaning, but the tale meant a lot. The crowd were Haruked.

Charles Britto, Pudupet

Visual treat

The play presented to the audience a slice of Korean culture. The use of traditional Korean puppets and other props provided a visual treat, taking us back to an era when graphics and special effects did not exist. At no point did we ever require to read the subtitles as the artists expressed their thoughts and emotions proficiently. I saw the extensive use of everyday materials as props for the first time in a play. There were several wow moments — goofy conversations between the old couple, Haruk’s growth, and the visit to the zoo, but the highlight was playing the original sound-track of Superman using makeshift instruments such as bottles, water cans and utensils.

The Tale of Haruk is a simple story but enacted so uniquely that we could do nothing but give the artists a standing ovation.

Keshav Sreedharan, Chennai

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