Osage Courtyard Theatre will perform The Whistle Blower that is written and performed by children

Osage Children’s Courtyard Theatre presents The Whistle Blower, written and performed by children, The Whistle Blower, the first experimental children’s play, written and performed by children between 12 and 14 years, evolved in a most creative way. M.K. Shankar, the founder of Osage Courtyard Theatre, describes the process: “We selected a story, but we didn’t tell the children what the story is about. We took them, instead, through a series of cues. We first suggested ‘happy town’, each one came up with different interpretations. Some said a happy town has ‘good and kind people’. So we asked them to explain what goodness and kindness meant. Then we suggested ‘pestilence,’ and one of them associated it with rats.”

The story in question is The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Through this step-by-step process, the children gave concrete expression to abstract ideas and in so doing wrote a modern adaptation of the Pied Piper, titled The Whistle Blower. “It is possible to write a play using a thin story line, only if we can take the ideas and link them up,” says the affable Shankar, who worked in collaboration with the multi-talented Nidhi Nambiar. “She is a pilot by training, but she is a natural in theatre. She has a wonderful equation with the children.”

He says that working with children had its challenges, but observes: “They may show they are very distracted, but their ability to absorb information is incredible. While we allowed them to be the authors of the play, we stepped in only when it came to linking the play to a larger context. My intervention has been minimal,” he explains.

Shankar, a writer, playwright and trainer in voice culture. “I wrote my first play in 1990. It was in Kannada. I derived the story from an allegory, which is a play that already works with the audience, Ek Din Ka Badhsah. The king in the play does nothing, but in my version, I turned it around and explored what would the king do if he became socially aware.” As a playwright, Shankar works within the structure of linearity. “This format helped me to create the characters. Always get the climax scene first and then work on your play.”

Shankar plans to take Osage Courtyard Theatre Programme to schools and corporate entities. “In organisations sometimes, there is no bonding. Theatre helps to bring people together as it doesn’t involve the ego. Also, in the city, people don’t have family support or close friends. So a weekend training in theatre can help create deep bonds.”

The play combines legend and folklore with present-day paraphernalia and multimedia elements and will be performed by the children who enrolled in the first batch of the Courtyard Theatre Programme, Ananya, Anoushka, Arya, Reva and Sumeru.

Osage is an initiative that trains aspirants in voice, music and theatre skills, and operates out of Malleshwaram and Sanjaynagar. It has three flagship offerings: Courtyard Theatre, School of Voice Culture and Osage Publishing.

The Whistle Blower, a play in English, will be performed on July 5 at Metro Rangoli’s Rangasthala on M.G. Road. Tickets are available on www.bookmyshow.com and proviso tickets might be available for two hours prior to the performance. For details, call 9731441023.