It was one of those evenings when parents didn’t care too much about their little ones staying up a couple of hours past bed time. ‘The Puppet and the Pink Balloon’, a collage of activities and skits presented by Chennai-based theatre company Stray Factory was one of the last few acts of Live in August. As excited kids gathered at Alliance Francaise, their parents enthusiastically egged them on to participate in the festivities on the stage.
As director of the show Deepa Ravi narrated the story of ‘Practice’ Palaniappan, a great musician known to be nasty with his students, the kids listened in hushed silence. When she said that Palaniappan would pinch the kids if they didn’t practise hard enough, never mind the fact that with as few theatrics as possible, their eyes widened in mock fear and they giggled uncontrollably. And that was the start of a giggle fest that went on till the very end of the show, even through the interval (who can really blame them, considering all the sugar they were chugging in the form of candy bars!).
‘Friendship Forest’ brought in animals from around the world who spoke to the children about saving the planet and wildlife conservation. With the kind of expectation that was created by the young narrators, the kids in the audience were nervously anticipating life-size puppets, but were disappointed into bored silence when the hand puppets made their way on stage.
‘Rajiv and his lunch box’ an interactive sketch about a young boy whose aunt packed him the weirdest of lunches, was definitely the saving grace of the evening. As some of the kids from the audience were invited to be part of the skit, they were only more than thrilled to get a closer look at Rajiv’s lunch box.
The grand finale of the evening, ‘The Pink Balloon’, had 10 kids taking the audience on a journey through a zoo, as three friends tried to find help to blow up their pink balloon. Replete with animals and their mindless antics, which the kids absolutely loved, the play was a hit more because the actors generously threw out candy to the eager and by-then hungry audience.