On t h e o c - c a - sion of World Theatre for Children Day, ASSITEJ India and the Goethe Institute organised a pan-India event called Tell A Tale, a festival of German children stories in Indian languages.
The Bangalore edition was presented by the theatre group Rafiki at the Cubbon Park Bandstand recently.
With over 250 performances to their credit and sixteen years of experience in introducing children and young adults to quality theatre, the group did not disappoint.
The session was entrancing both in its content and performance.
They started out by teaching children Kannada version of the rhyme Pussycat Pussycat Where did you go? It was a wonderful icebreaker with all the kids joining in quickly and getting into the groove.
What followed was a walk in the park, everyone forming a train and singing along on their way to listen to the first of three stories.
Narrated in Kannada, it involved four animals and their adventures in setting up a music band.
To the accompaniment of a guitar and drum, each of these performers muddled and danced their way into everyone’s imagination.
Next came another walk, another story — this time in English.
Conducted as a monologue, it talked about negotiating the thin line between stealing and borrowing, right and wrong with Christmas.
By then the children were totally absorbed, commenting and second-guessing the story.
For the adults, the entire experience revived past memories of tales heard and narrated.
Then it was time for the last story, this time an out and out entertainer involving a younger son, ghosts, demons, pots of gold and of course, a beautiful princess.
The antics of the hero, filing the nails of vicious cats and playing cricket with the attacking skeletons had the audience in splits.
Another nonsensical rhyme rounded up the evening.
Finally everybody went their way, having been bound for a while, mesmerised by the magical realm of stories and saluting the noble art of telling them.