BANGALORE: Aantarya Film and Theatre House, headed by Padmavathi Rao, is partnering with Akshaya Patra Foundation for Theatre for a Cause (TFAC). Eleven students from Government schools situated in Bangalore South will be staging an English play written and directed by Padmavathi Rao titled ‘Making a Man of an Ass’ on Saturday.
The driving idea was to expose children to different aspects of theatre both on and off stage making it a complete learning process. Bharati Ghanashyam, head of communication and donor care said, “The play is in English and most children were not fluent with the language. However, every government school these days teach English after VII Standard. So they had a certain amount of knowledge.”
On the process of selection of the students, she said, “Initially there were 22 students selected for a eight-week workshop on drama and theatre. Out of them, 13 were selected. Although parents of the participants were cooperative, we ensured that written permission was taken from each one of them. These kids have been coming to rehearsals under challenging circumstances. Two students backed out for some reasons. One student is sick with jaundice and he dropped out four days earlier. He had a very important role in the play.”
The rehearsal used to take place from 6 am to 9.30 am as the participants’ schools were reluctant to give them time off to attend rehearsals. Bharati added, “We rehearsed at Puttenahallli Government school. They were kind enough to grant us some space for rehearsal. We would pick and drop the kids to their respective schools and in return take the signatures either from their teachers or guardians in order to ensure safety of the kids which is our prime concern.” Students from Doddakalsandra Middle Primary School, Vasathapura Higher Primary School, Konankunte Middle Primary School and Puttenahalli Middle Primary School are participating at the play.
On the reactions of the students, Bharati said, “The excitement among the kids is evident. They have enjoyed the process thoroughly. When we asked them as to what they have learnt from this whole process, their reply was: value of time and equality. They said that they feel fortunate to be selected from 3,500 government school students.”
The play is adapted from a folk tale and revolves round a dhobi, his wife and their donkey. This couple without a child come to believe that a donkey can become a man. Bharati said, “The play has a subtle message as to what are we expecting from kids today. Are we ready to accept them for what they are or are our level of expectations surpassing their interests?”
The play will be staged at Multi Vision Theatre, ISKCON Temple, West of Chord Road, Rajajinagar on Saturday, January 21, between 5.30 and 7 pm.