Posts Tagged ‘theatre’

How to bring a house down?

Note: Cross posted at bhawnatheatre.wordpress.com

Let’s tackle the customary introduction first,

Bhawna is a children’s theatre group in Chennai that works towards creating opportunities for children to interact and have a whole of fun without the dividing lines of “special” vs “mainstream”. We currently have 30 children mostly between the ages of 5-11 years including children with special needs, brought together by a common interest in and love for theatre.

We staged our first production “The Selfish Giant” on the 1st of December at CLRI Auditorium, Chennai. The play was adapted from a fairy tale of the same name by Oscar Wilde.

And now for the real stuff – after 3 weeks of an incredible amount of fun and frolic, loads of screaming, a hundred cups of hot cocoa and a lifetime’s supply of chips and not to forget the 3 hour long daily rehearsals – this is how things turned out.

A Garden is discovered

Who's garden
But whose garden is this?

Leave it - Let's just play
Let’s just play – don’t worry too much about what your mom will say.

Hide and Seek
A Game of Hide and Seek – I am not looking, hide fast

Scene 1 - Song
Dancing is good fun

Giant smelling
Fie Fye Foo Fum – I get the smell of children

Please Mr. Giant
Discovered!! Please Mr. Giant, don’t eat me up!!

giant small
Get out of my garden – I am big and I’ll eat you teeny weeny weasels up!!

The Spring Dance – I cannot set in The Selfish Giant’s Garden

Summer Dance – Oops, no golden glow of summer for a very very selfish giant

Autumn Dance – I’m passing over this garden too, but better watch out for naughty winter

Winter’s got style – Ice, Frost, Snow and Hail – Let’s teach the giant a good lesson

Winter Dance
North Wind joins the Winter Dance – Let’s play havoc

A Repentant Giant
Giant realizes his foolishness – I am sorry

Bringing the house down
Let’s have a party – Kids bringing the stage down AFTER the finale piece was over!!!

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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 laksh.narasimhan@gmail.com. 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 laksh.narasimhan@gmail.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.

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