Theatre

Out of the box

Drama for little ones: A scene from “Three Oriental tales”

Drama for little ones: A scene from “Three Oriental tales”  

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Pitara Festival brought the vibrant world of children’s theatre to Delhi

Blending fantasy and realism with audience joining performers on stage, ui“Mister Jeejeebhoy and the Birds” captured the imagination of young audience at the Children's Theatre Festival organised by Pitara International TYA at National Bal Bhawan in Delhi.

“Mister Jeejeebhoy and the Birds”

“Mister Jeejeebhoy and the Birds”  

Adapted by Shaili Sathyu from the story of the same title by Anitha Balachandran, it moves around two siblings and their aunt. A large number of colourful birds embellish the production, presented by Gillo Repertory Theatre, Mumbai. Through the movements of siblings, we watch the flow of life in the town. Some of the interesting sequences include a small shop with commodities, children love to buy. The siblings frequently visit this shop and the shopkeeper attends them in a playful manner. In fact, such shops are found in colonies that attract children.

Exuding joy, the audience, mainly consisting of children, related to the scene. The performers formed a stage composition to create the form of the bus plying at a slow pace. Members of the audience were invited to ride the bus. Some children from audience joined the hide and seek sequence. This device enabled the children to feel that they were not a mere audience but participants in the action, establishing a lively rapport with the performers. Directed by Shaili Sathyu, the production ingeniously brought alive vividly the world of children without being preachy.

Theatre 1-Entertainment Trust presented “Three Oriental Tales” in an innovative way to convey a message. The show began with the tale of the crane and a poor woodcutter. Once the woodcutter discovers a wounded crane in the forest. He brings it home and nurses with care and compassion. When it is fully recovered, he allows it to fly high in the sky. One night, the poor and lonely woodcutter gives shelter to a beautiful young woman who expresses her wish to become his wife and brings happiness and prosperity to him but because of his impatience, the beautiful woman takes the form of a crane and flies away never to return.

Lively rapport

The second story narrates the lives of two brothers. The older brother is selfish and grabs the property of his younger brother who lives in utter penury. With the blessings of a bird, the younger brother becomes rich. In contrast, the older brother becomes poor because of his malicious motive. Out of love, the younger brother helps his malevolent brother. The message of the story is loud and clear.

The third tale is about Chinese New Year celebrations and the stories behind the naming of Chinese months after animals.

The narrators used a variety of theatrical devices such as masks, music, facial expressions and movements, establishing a lively rapport with the audience while narrating these oriental tales which are not dramatised but communicated in the original format. The show was directed by Imran Khan, one of the pioneers of children’s theatre.

Puppetshala presented “Part 1, The Voyage to Lilliput by Gulliver”. Written by Jonathan Swift, it is a great story of adventure, courage and man's eternal quest to know the unknown that has inspired generations.

Using puppets of varying sizes, applying various techniques of puppetry including shadow puppetry, the play projected a huge puppet showing Guliver in an unconscious state who is brought by tiny soldiers before their king.

Directed by Mohd Shameem, the production was imaginatively designed. The scene of fire using the device of shadow puppetry was effectively enacted. The soldiers of Lilliput use a huge ladder to reach to Gulliver which evoked a sense of awe and laughter.

The Lilliputians were wonderstruck to see the huge size of Gulliver. They consider him dangerous for the kingdom. Once he protects the kingdom from invaders, the king is pleased with him and he becomes a favourite of the king and his courtiers. The prime minister becomes jealous of him, creating a situation in which he is charged with treason and arrested. However, with the help of a wellwisher, he is freed and continues his travels to another unknown land.

Emboldened with the overwhelming response of schools, the organisers are hopeful of elevating the event to a major international children's theatre festival.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:04:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/out-of-the-box/article30285583.ece

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