theatre day, a treat that was…

Today, we had an yet another day of ‘plays’ by the wards of young Manjunath.

Manjunath of course, never fails to surprise us with his incredible  improvisations & narratives – and his  wards, meaning the children of NammaShaale, also never fail him, I suppose. They generally turn in stellar, unselfconscious performances.

This time also, it was the same, I am happy to say. The parents were also present in good numbers and did the usual parenty things at the event, just like yours truly. Life goes on.

Unlike the previous stagings at NammaShaale, this time, vertical groupings were experimented with. Children from lower elementary and higher elementary were made into three groups with mixed age bands – addressing the dynamics within various groups. This appears to have been successful, with children happily working with each other, establishing new friendships and acquaintances beyond their comfort zones and groups. Nice.

Each grouping staged a drama – the common and binding theme being development:

  •  the first one was about the development of the soul (or ‘spirituality,’ if you will),
  • the second one about the idea of development as ‘old order changeth, yielding place to the new’ kind – with a good ending
  • the third about the environment oriented ‘development debate’ and its pros and cons – again ending with a message of hope…

The first play was about the transformation of the invincible King Kaushika into Sage Vishwamitra. Apparently the child who was to have originally donned the central role of Vishwamitra could not make it to school today. But, another child valiantly volunteered,  and did a damn good job of it.

Sage Vishwamitra in a previous Avatar!

The visualization and staging of Sabala (D/O Kamadenu, AKA Nandini) that was creatively interpreted by two children prancing around was also sweet, as also the artful & creative rendering of the skirmish between Sage Vasishta and King Kaushika…

The next staging was a rendering of ‘And still, the turtle watched’ by Sheila MacGill-Callahan – which is a very nice & moving story about a turtle carved on a river bluff over a river in Delaware (USA) by lenape native americans; the story is about how the turtle watches with mounting sadness, the goings-on around him – a commentary on development.  Finally there was a happy ending – the turtle is able to reconnect with children, though from a different age and time. Even the great spirit Manitou would have been pleased to view the dramatization!

The third one was a dramatization of Lorax -an unusual story from that insufferable Dr. Seuss. When I first came across this book some eight years back or so, I was shocked to find the book not only readable, but also enjoyable and ‘reflectable’ – so much so that I actually bought a copy and read it to my daughter (you know how mindnumbing it is with children, wanting you to read books to them over and over a zilion times!) – it is a very nice (and hope giving) story about the dangers of mindless destruction of habitats in the name of development – and offering correctives. The Onceler and Lorax came alive as also the rest of the crew.

The background music and sound ‘effects’ were all provided by Manjunath as usual, including discrete prompting from the side. All children did very well, including the primary children and the erdkinder, who were the cheer-followers of the presenting teams. Good.

The interesting thing was that, even though the children in these vertical groupings were / are in different ‘developmental’ stages, Manjunath did a remarkable job of appropriately positioning the children, seamlessly weaving them into the stories and making everyone joyous in the process!

What do I say? AttaManjunath??

I am making the usual request of requesting the parents / others who clicked photos during the event, to share them if they could, with the rest of the community. I know that as usual, thundering silence will be the result, but what the heck.

One sad news though! There was a not so sweet surprise at the end of the theatre performance – there was no statutory distribution of laddoos from Anand Sweets or Kanti Sweets. I think the school should not take the non-junk campaign this far. It is too much. grrrr.  Cholestrol will set us free, dammit!

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