A lovable adventure
Little Mouk, presented by Landing Stage, endeared itself to the audience, especially kids.
SPONTANEOUS: Young players stole the show. PHOTO: S. THANTHONI.
The Adventures of Little Mouk is a folk tale from Eastern Europe. It neither offers morals nor teaches lessons and children love it, because for once they are treated to the normal world with a dash of the bad in it! Mouk is cheated out of his inheritance and worse, indicted for the murder of his father. He runs away and figures ways to survive in the big bad world. With the help of his magic shoes and staff he learns to give as good as he gets.
The play was presented by Landing Stage, the new group of enthusiastic performers, who are old enough to indulge in theatre and yet too young to be accepted by Chennai's amateur groups.
The Adventures of Little Mouk, which ran for four days on the lawns of the Max Mueller Bhavan attracted little children, students of all ages and adults (still young at heart) in good numbers. Directed by Aruna Ganesh Ram, it was a well-planned production that took care of even little details. In particular, their timing was good, critical and important in a fast paced production.
The open-air stage of the Max Mueller Bhavan held the main acting space, with the grand old trees shaking their shaggy branches over the actors. Four painted blocks created the backdrop and when rotated changed locales. Props were minimal but suggestive, leaving the stage uncluttered.
The group used physical theatre remarkably well to put their play across. They could tense and relax their bodies at will and exercise fine balance. The movements were well choreographed and the energy charged.
They sprinted at quite a pace around the audience, they scaled the tops of adjoining buildings to extend the acting space and create perspective. The lighting design, though simple, lit every spot of action quite dramatically.
Another nice touch was the four human cats with their painted faces and choreographed movements. Except for a few gaps, when the actors seemed to be waiting for some cue, the play moved at a steady clip with everyone doing their bit. The younger of the actors, interestingly, did better. They were more spontaneous and totally unselfconscious, like Vikram who played Mouk, effortlessly carrying the audience with him.
Ultimately the proof of a production is in the response from its audience. In this case the verdict came from the very little children who sat or walked around absolutely spellbound for the entire length of the show.
They loved the story, they loved what happened to Mouk and to his persecutors, and they loved the physicality of the way the story was narrated to them.
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Chennai and Tamil Nadu