10 Children's Plays
Summer's here. That means schools out. That means kids are home free. That means parents are tearing their hair out. That means theatrewallahs are creating plays for children, so that the parents survive the summer. In keeping with the children's theme, here is a top ten of children's plays (in no particular order) that I have seen.
- The Boy Who Stopped Smiling: The one that started it all. Staged by the Little Prithvi Theatre Players, the play was about the relationship between a child and his parents, and their disagreements over his choice of vocation. I don't remember the production too well, as I saw it almost ten years ago. The songs were catchy and the story line was fun. What struck me most was how the audience of children enjoyed it immensely. However I do remember a lot of over the top performances from the cast. Done in the Grips style, the play was had adults playing the parts of kids.
- Takadoom Takadish: Another one from the ages. I remember it being a series of short stories with morals. What was most catching and has remained with me till today is the theme song "Takadoom Takadish, Takadoom Takadish, That was then, this is now, things have changed, I don't know how."
- Kahani Le Lo: Done with stories of the Panchatantra, the show I saw was by no means a polished product. But what it lacked in finesse it made up in heart. And that's what the kids seemed to respond to. Particular mention must be made of Anup Burte's Pandit, who was absolutely hilarious.
- Special Bond 1: At that time it was just Special Bond. It gave birth to the AKvarious nursery of children's plays, which has dominated over the last few years. What was remarkable about the production were the incredibly high production values. The scene in the tunnel with the train passing, or the panther jumping elicited screams of fear and delight for the children in the audience.
- The Shehenshah of Azeemo: This play was remarkable on two counts. First it told an Indianised version of the Wizard of Oz, and second it was a musical. Both pretty mean feats. The ensemble cast were very good, and the songs catchy. Children in ndia were reintroduced to a timeless story.
- The Mystery of the Pantomime Cat: To be fair I haven't actually seen it. I was actually in it for one show...in a dress. But Meera Khurana took on the difficult task of bringing Enid Blyton's characters to life, and succeeded with great aplomb. A mystery that the five find outers solve, the play introduced the key characters and then borrowed lots of songs from famous musicals like Oliver and Lion King. Still the kids seemed to enjoy it, and so did I dancing to Grease.
- The Pirate's Ship: A short Australian play that toured to Bombay as part of Thespo 11, the Pirate Ship was quite a lot of fun. Although most of the Indian kids struggled with the Aussie accents, the fantastic props, over the top pirates and wonderful use of stage craft really made the experience enjoyable.
- Almost Twelfth Night: Not sure this was actually enjoyed by kids, but I loved it. Using small puppets with actors speaking the parts, the play was immaculately directed by Anurupa Roy from Delhi. She has just created another show about Humayun, which opens there next week, and should something to look out for.
I am not actually going to go all the way to ten on this count down. My last two spots are reserved for shows that are yet to open:
- Adventures of Tintin: Easily one of my favourite characters, Akvarious (who else) are collecting together a few of the memorable characters from the comic series to feature in one stage production. This promises to be quite a ride and I can't wait to watch Professor Calculus, Snowy, Rastapopulis and the Thomson Twins on stage. What a treat!
- Dramabaazi: This is actually not the name of a play, but a month long exercise that is to culminate in a play. There is no real idea as to what the show is going to be, but having seen director Abhishek Saha work with the young actors for a few sessions, I have no doubt it will be an interesting and entertaining watch.
Well that's the countdown. If you have any children's plays that you have seen that you think should have made the list please let me know. There's always next year's list!