Guess who is talking to Seema Golchha

Seema Golchha with one of her furry puppet friends

Seema Golchha with one of her furry puppet friends  

Ventriloquist Seema Golchha from Nepal brings over some furry puppet friends for her debut show in Chennai

Seema Golchha’s tryst with ventriloquism came well after marriage and motherhood. “I was married off right after I graduated, and Nepal replaced Mumbai as my home,” she says. After several years, she joined the Everest Toastmasters Club, an international non-profit organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. As part of club activities, she put on small shows, first doing stand-up comedy and then trying her hand at puppets, in 2011. This set her on the path from stage-shy housewife to boisterous performer. This evening, she brings those skills to Chennai for a set at Peekaboo Patterns, a retail store for children’s decor and toys.

Something for everyone

An in-house comic at Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai, Golchha has performed regularly back home in Nepal, as well as on international platforms in Thailand and USA — even sharing the stage with Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld. For her maiden performance in the city, the self-christened “entrepunner” plans to charm a young audience with her funny puppets, and original, family-friendly content.

While shows for adults feature her trusty blue sidekick, the furry and irreverent Jack Denials, children’s events call for a tribe of smaller puppets. Golchha concedes that performing for kids is particularly challenging, as she has to create content and engage a host of different age groups, from three to 18. Most importantly, she does not want to come off as preachy. “I don’t really tell stories or give life lessons or morals,” she says firmly. “My intention is purely to entertain the kids and hold their attention and interest for an hour.” And so the sessions are highly interactive, filled with jokes, quizzes and games.

In the beginning

Looking back to when she started, Golchha says, “I had to teach myself everything.” Despite this lack of experience, she had plenty of practice. “I lived in a joint family, and I’d often try out my material on the children at home,” she says. She followed the work of her favourite artistes, ventriloquists Nina Conti and Paul Zerdin, and traveled to the US to watch the world-renowned Jeff Dunham perform. Much self-guided learning later, she found her voice – and her puppets’. Particularly challenging was the absence of audience feedback, as it was uncharted territory for them. “People would ask me where the puppet’s voice came from, or if it was pre-recorded,” she recalls.

When she started performing in Kathmandu, Golchha had to arrange the venue and time, and performances were few and far between. Five years later, she got a gig in an all-women comedy show. And in 2017, her professional career took off, taking her to India and making her a regular at the Canvas Laugh Club in both Gurgaon and Mumbai. Now a TEDx speaker, she conducts improv workshops in Nepal for local comics. Golchha knows she is doing what she was meant to: “Comedy is my superpower!”

Seema Golchha will perform at Peekaboo Patterns on February 22, from 4 pm to 6 pm. Tickets at ₹750 for children and ₹500 for parents on 9962430862

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:45:40 AM |

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