Films are not as challenging as theatre, when it comes to perfection, public response and passion. There are no cuts or re-takes. The curtain rises and falls. Doing an act on stage can ease out all the tummy butterflies, trembling knees and thumping heartbeats. It is probably like the first time you entered a swimming pool.
Today’s children are far more confident and observant. They pick up stuff at the snap of fingers. While most teenagers are off to Coaching Institutes for Medical and Engineering preparation, the other lot is passionate about sports and games. Quite a few of them are couch potatoes, mostly the online freaks, social networking is their daily bread and updating hourly status with pouts instead of smiles is a part of their ‘cool ’ attitude. Now we are left with either voracious readers or thinkers, or the art lovers, musicians or dancers… the aesthetic minds.
I managed to register 35 kids from Class V to XI this summer for a month long theatre workshop. We divided them into a junior and senior group and began training them on areas like expression, speech, body control, voice throw, modulation, discipline, punctuality, delivery, confidence, personality, team work, group interaction and formations for nearly two weeks. In the latter half, two short scripts were read out to the participants, roles were allotted and rehearsals began. From two hour sessions we drifted to four hour practices. Sunita Tiwari Nagpal, NSD graduate was the resource person who collaborated in conveying theatrical nuances into the young minds of our theatre enthusiasts.
The workshop culminated with the staging of two short Hindi Plays on 9th June, 2016 in the senior school auditorium of St. Xavier’s School, Jaipur. The first Hindi play, a satire based on Bharat Ratan Bhargava’s play – Shaastra Dekho Shaastra threw light on the ignorance widely spread even in a literate society of the modern era.
The second, an intense presentation of the Marathi writer, Shree Rang Godbole’s play – Par Humein Khelna Hai highlighted the religious intolerance that seeps into a communal society triggered off by terrorist groups and the effect it has on young minds. With the backdrop of school children engulfed in Hindu-Muslim riots in the city, the play sought to unite families of a multi- cultural society.
For me, it was a thrilling experience to witness these young but highly talented kids rule the stage with dynamic command and spontaneous dramatic skills. Their willingness and passion was evident from the way they delivered dialogues and caught on to cues. I am very confident that these kids have surely learnt valuable lessons of life and whether they become Anupam Khers or Shabana Azmis tomorrow, they are definitely equipped to take on the stage of life.