Impaired – Disabled -Differently abled – Special – Abnormal – Challenged
We’ve all heard these words – together or individually – at some point of time or the other. For now we shall skip dwelling into the political correctness (or incorrectness) of these terms, and get straight to the point.
Each of these are words that lose their weight once we realize we are all just people who are differently made – words that hold no prejudice, no barrier once there is no “us” and “them”.
Bhawna is an all inclusive theatre group of children that seeks to erase the line between the so called “special” and “mainstream” spaces. We create unique public spaces without the dividing lines for children to interact and have a whole of fun. We seek to do this to break the myth of “us” vs “them”.
Bhawna is an initiative of the State Pressure Group for Disability in Tamil Nadu – and yours truly is a part of Bhawna. An ex colleague of mine, Dr. Lakshmi Sundar, sits on the above mentioned pressure group – and since we love doing mad things together we decided that this World Disability Day we’ll kick start the effort with a production of The Selfish Giant adapted from a fairy tale of the same name written by Oscar Wilde.
We have had tons of fun over the last month putting this together. And we’ve seen that even a little effort can produce the most magical moments – from watching groovy steps of a tiny boy who usually doesn’t sit still to listening to the gyaan of a bespectacled small girl, “I used to think that such children would be different. But after seeing them at practice, I think there is no difference Amma. They are also kids like me.”
This year’s production had 25 kids under the age of 11, one adult (a parent) and one teenager (I dare not say kid) performing. Children have come from various schools across Chennai including some which are commonly identified as special schools. Vidyasagar, formely Spastics Society of India, has extended their hospitality with place and snacks for rehearsals. Shireen, Jeeva, Teresa, Sudha are teachers from Vidyasagar who’ve helped us tons during rehearsals. The choreography has been done by Kokila, Balaji and Hari from the Russian Cultural Center, the sound and lights by Prithvi and sets by Kannan.
The curtain raises on December 1st, 7:00 pm at CLRI Auditorium, Opposite IIT, Adyar, Chennai.
Note: World Disability Day is on the 3rd of December each year, but a show on Saturday makes more sense than one on Monday.
Donor passes are available for Rs. 200 per person. Those interested may contact me (Lakshmi) at 44.45500035 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations or help of any sort towards Bhawna’s activities are most welcome. For the current production we’re still raising funds specifically for costumes for children who can’t afford them. Those interested in sponsoring may contact me at email@example.com
To all my fellow food bloggers: I haven’t been able to catch up on most of your posts. I’ll be back soon in action with pics and perhaps a video of the show.