Back to the days of innocence

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Theatre At Sanskar Rang Toli's festival, children used their imagination to develop plays. DIWAN SINGH BAJELI

Living in harmony A scene from “No One Like You.”
Living in harmony A scene from “No One Like You.”

A prelude to the National School of Drama's theatre spectacle, the Bharat Rang Mahotsav,is the institute's Sanskar Rang Toli's six-day club theatre festival at LTG auditorium which opened over the weekend. Watching two plays featuring children and seeing the excitement of the children in the auditorium, one is assured of a vibrant children's movement in Delhi.

The best part of these productions is that they are follow-up activities of the theatre workshop conducted in summer by NSD. It is proof that these workshops are not mere rituals but a continuous process to initiate children into theatre. At the festival, the scripts and presentational styles are evolved by children through a methodology of games, innovation and role playing.

“I Wish” is the opening play. The storyline is simple, conceived collectively by children reflecting their keen observation of their surroundings. It begins with a boy curious to learn magic from his magician parents. After pestering them persistently, he learns a few tricks that have to be executed with caution.

As he moves around, he comes across people grumbling about their present state and under the illusion that they would have been far happier had they been in a different situation at a different time. The magician child remains invisible to the people he observes.

Magician's wand at work

He meets a worried father disgusted with his life who wants to re-live his childhood with a view to study seriously and be happy. His school-going son wishes to be as old as his father so that he could command the respect of family members. The little magician grants their wishes. The reversal of roles creates comic situations.

But far from becoming happy, they become miserable in the changed situation. They pine to get back to their original position. The moral is clear: make the best of the opportunity offered by the present. The minimal properties and sets with different levels make viewing effective.

The concluding piece of the evening is “No One Like You” presented by children aged between 10 and 12. The play projects the animal world living harmoniously in the jungle, though a few play harmless tricks for the sake of fun. The focus is on a duck family. The mother duck looks after the fledgling birds which are beautiful. But one baby bird is dark and ugly. So he is kept at bay by others. The father duck goes out with his little gun to defend the jungle.

The ugly baby duck is intelligent and courageous enough to help out the family in the time of financial crisis and thus wins the heart of all the creatures of the jungle. The moral of the story is convincingly conveyed. Elegantly designed stage with paintings and a collage of bright colours in the backdrop, as well as glove-puppetry, enrich the aesthetic value of the production. The songs rendered in melodious voices add to its aural beauty.

Beautifully mounted and spontaneously performed, these two plays are celebrations of childhood. They also remind adults about their own childhood.



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