A play in progress

27 Apr

 Our school is celebrating ‘annual cultural mela’ on the 1st of May.My friend and I chose a Hindi one act play and modified it to suit our requirements. We re-wrote some dialogues ,added a few characters(as we wanted more kids to be a part of the programme),made it more  girl student -oriented and changed the ending to make it more attractive .

Its storyline is: Two kids want to be allowed to go to the school   picnic.Their father has refused to spare  the  money. They discuss the options and decide to go on a hunger strike.The tug of war between their hunger  and the various culinary carrots dangling in front of them is hilarious.After overcoming several temptations the poor kids are hungry and tired. now they can take it no more and they succumb to gulab jamuns when no one is around.Ayan sees this and…The grand parents who have come on a surprise visit  save their day.

Now even as we re-wrote the play we had the main actors in our mind.

 In fact it took a lot of effort in persuading one of the ‘stars ‘ to act. Ayan-all of 8 years wanted to be in a casual costume.We promised him that he could be himself. We changed the name of the character to Ayan. He signed the contract!!He is a natural-so we didn’t mind the ‘cost factor’!

The next obstacle came when Vismaya,one of the other lead actors couldn’t slow down the dialogue delivery. Even as we tried to improve her, Shweta_2 took over the direction.She was our narrator cum prompter.Her tips were so good that we gave Shweta-2 Vismaya’s role and enjoyed sitting back in our chairs. The rehearsals are a dream come true. Megha and Sh are so natural that they modify the dialogues, suggest movements, rearrange props ,advise the other minor actors on dialogue delivery and give ideas for smooth entry and exit.They both are about 10 years old.Unbelievable-but true.Whenever we feel that somebody is having difficulty with a particular dialogue/action M and S start their suggestions.We have given them a lot of creative freedom .This has resulted in the play running to 12+ minutes from an expected time of 9-10 minutes. Now we have had to curb their directorial tendencies so as to keep to the allotted time!

During the course of the play Ayan gets to lick the paani of paani-poories ,eat besan ke laddoos,pakodaas and gorge on gulab jamuns!And poor M and Sh are mere spectators–well almost. The expressions on their faces when Ayan eats and describes the taste is worth an Oscar or two!!

Ayan does the eating and gloating part beautifully. We tried to bring in tomatoes for the practice sessions. he forced his mother to buy the real Gul.jamuns.He has been large heated to share the left-overs with the salivating characters at the end.he was the one who suggested that the GJs should be cut into two for easy popping in and talking simultaneously–anubahva -janya-gnana-I guess.

Children continue to amaze me with their abilities even after 21 years of ‘learning’ experience.

By the time the play is over I would have earned an honorary diploma in directing from AYAN-MEGHA-SHWETA academy.


12 Responses to “A play in progress”

  1. greatunknown April 27, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    Yay! I love school plays! Used be very active on-stage when I was in school; and also got the lead role… ahem!

    When I visited my school as a guest speaker two years ago, I was filled with nostalgia as I stood at the podium and delivered the morning address on the importance of reading books. Sighhhh…

    A pity I didn’t pursue theatre, say many:(

  2. neel3 April 28, 2007 at 4:56 am #

    a pity-you can be quite (melo) dramatic!! 😉

  3. rk April 30, 2007 at 3:31 am #

    makkala kathe odhi majaa banthu.

    nangondhu patra kodthira nimm natakadalli…bekadre (RK) jamoon thinkondu ondh side-alli silentaagi koothirthini…

  4. neel3 April 30, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    Bundbidi sir , paatrakkenante srushtisbidoNa.Ottu gulab jamun nimmindane sponsored aadre saaku.

  5. greatunknown April 30, 2007 at 9:28 pm #

    Hey, I wasn’t told anything about jamuns being served… grrrrrrrr:(

  6. destinationsrik May 2, 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    hehehe…made me revisit one particular play in which i was one of the only two characters that existed.

    Other was my class mate…a smart fellow. We were delivering exactly as we were asked to…and he gave a twister… delivered one dialogue that was not in the script…in fact it wasa question he asked me.
    Director was prompting from behind…I was also surprised…but there was no time to listen to people from behind…I had to deliver some relavent stuff out of my mouth otherwise the next day I’d be a laughing stock in the whole school…

    I answered his question instantly with some words that finally brought down to our next ‘practiced’ dialogue…

    Later I learnt that this smart fellow had delivered a dialogue from another play that was rehersed in the same room as we did. And my performance was appreciated later.

  7. neela May 2, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    great impromptu performance,Srik!!Ability to think on one’s feet is really a talent.

  8. greatunknown May 2, 2007 at 5:14 pm #

    That’s the key… NEVER let the audience know you’ve skipped or missed a line. As for me, I memorised everyone else’s lines too, and prompted them with relevant queries or suggestions!

  9. Vani May 3, 2007 at 6:40 am #


    DoDDamma is in Bangalore! Am going to see her today!
    Ningilla! 😉

  10. gmohanprakash May 3, 2007 at 6:57 am #

    🙂 Kids are amazing arent they? It would have been some memorable experience and hair splitting too

  11. neela May 3, 2007 at 11:02 am #

    vani,i am JEALOUS.

    greatunknown, That was what we trained ourn kids for.

    mohanprakash,yeah, the whole thing was a wonderful eye-opener.

  12. praneshachar May 11, 2007 at 9:27 am #

    Nijavaglu thumba kushi aitu idannu odi great going neel
    keep it up and bring out the hidden talents in the children nothing great than that and only a true teacher can do that and encourage them

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