Saturday, May 19, 2018

Anjali - First Play!

With great enthusiasm Anjali joined the Hindu STEPS Summer camp at Jubilee Hills. It was a 10 day camp from April 25 to May 5, organised and scheduled very well by Meghna and Haripriya. The camp had several activities but key takeaways were that the children got to understand the dynamics of a play right from understanding the stage, props, writing, characters, dialogue, music, acting etc. Anjali was part of one of the 5 groups.
Anjali and her team
Her group came up with a play about Guddu. Anjali was chosen as Guddu because she resembled a boy most  with her short hair etc. The group was given a semi written play and they had to complete it. The process of working together on the team - dealing with pushy characters, quiet characters etc - and discovering friends everywhere by the end of it all.
Another group setting up props
So they wrote the play, rehearsed it, acted it, made props and stuff like that. One day she picked up twigs which she thought would work as fire. When I dropped her she changed her mind but then I told her to take it anyway - many times we give up on our own ideas. I don't know what happened after I left though.
A play in action
The story goes a bit like this. Guddu lives with his mom. Mom falls sick. Guddu has to go to the forest to collect firewood. He falls in a ditch which is actually a bear trap. The bear comes. Guddu is stuck. Then a forest officer comes and saves Guddu and all's well that ends well. Costumes, props, narration etc. Nicely done.
Happy children and teachers
On the last day we the parents were all asked to come over to witness the five plays and we did. It was wonderful to see the innocent energy of the children and the confidence and talent on display. How much of it goes away as we grow up thanks to beliefs that adults put in our heads! They sang, emoted, laughed, joked and it was heady fun.
Me sharing my two bits - Haripriya in the background
At the end Haripriya called me over to speak a few words and I said what made sense to me. That as children they are so non judgmental, so full of hope and kindness which is what makes their world so simple and easy. As adults we judge everything and that takes kindness and hope out of the equation. I kept it really short and then handed over the certificates to the children. So impressive were their performances that I could remember almost every single one of their performances - 22 of them!

But what remains in mind is the enthusiasm they bring, the way the other groups helped by holding props or doing all they could to help other groups, the way they all seriously exchanged phone numbers with the best of intentions and one hopes that they never lose this spirit. This is the way of joyfulness, this is how life must be lived. Not transactionally.
Giving away certificates
That is probably Anjali's first play - I don't know if she did any at school - definitely not on this scale I think. Reminds me to mention my one and only play here. It was when I was in my third class studying in St. Joseph's school in Kurnool. The play had a rich boy and a poor boy and I got to play the rich boy because I had a jacket. I was also not the nice guy in the play - I was one of those guys who have a lot but do not share.  So I was given a lunch box filled with cashew nuts, a banana and some chips. The poor guy was hungry but I just eat up my stuff without offering anything. In the end I am taught my lesson and learn to share. I hated eating the soft banana but loved the cashew and chips. More importantly I was all the time looking at our pretty teacher who I was infatuated with then and that ended my short career in theatre. Hopefully Anjali will have a longer stint.

Thank you Meghna and Haripriya. Hope to see you in another camp soon. Anjali is all ready for another one.

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