Enthral and educate

Little Blue Planet brought activism and entertainment together

Published - July 18, 2014 07:34 pm IST - Bangalore:

Innovative Engaged audience of all age groups

Innovative Engaged audience of all age groups

Climate change is one of the most serious issues in the world today, debated hotly in parliaments and pubs across the globe. So how do you open a five-year-old’s eyes to it? How do you explain the environmental issues that threaten the planet to an urban child? Katkatha theatre does this and does it well through puppetry in its production, Little Blue Planet. What began as a part of the Climate Change Project six years ago has evolved into an important mechanism through which responsibility can be instilled in children.

A wonderful opening sequence of the galaxy segues into the conception of Earthu, or a characterisation of the planet that we call home. Earthu bears and nourishes life, from the butterflies to the plants. When a human is created, the sustainable balance between Earthu and its creations is broken. The human begins consuming with avarice all of Earthu’s previous creations, leaving Earthu to transform from a young, lively planet to an aging burdened one. As waterfalls give way to deserts, the human realises the error of his ways and takes a small step toward redemption. The performance ends on a note of hope for Earthu and for life on it.

Staged over a duration of 45 minutes, Little Blue Planet manages to enthral and educate in its short span. With no dialogue, the play leaned heavily on aural cues to carry it through: alarm bells as the desolation increased, lilting music toward the optimistic resolution. But more than the music, the stunning visuals created an alternate universe, quite literally for the packed house at Ranga Shankara.

The evolution of the animals on earth, a sort of who’s who of Noah’s ark was an innovative use of the overhead projector. The colours and shapes took form on the screen to the wonderment of the young and old ones alike. The destruction of the planet, to swathes of red and smoke, and the planet’s transformation from bright blue to dull grey was a scene that imprinted in one’s mind. Of course, the top of the charts in terms of puppetry mettle was that introductory scene. Large painted globes swirled through the auditorium in a mesmerising manner, setting the tempo for the rest of the production.

Little Blue Planet was created in response to a need to bring activism to children through entertainment, but it can just as well be applied to adults alike. A simple message imparted powerfully, it creates an impact that will stay with you long after the curtains fall. And Anurupa Roy, the force behind Katkatha, promises that there’s more in store: a teaser of their upcoming production was performed just before Little Blue Planet to loud cheers and applause.

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