Travel through time with Schram Academy
Time travel has always been at the centre of many of the wackiest films made in the past few decades – but what about theatre?
CHENNAI: Time travel has always been at the centre of many of the wackiest films made in the past few decades – but what about theatre? And would a time-travel play featuring the citizens of Madras through its ages make for an entertaining premise? It certainly looks like it, as CE caught up with the students of The Schram Academy, who will stage their first ever musical, The Curious Case of the Imagination Thief. Behind-the-scenes of a fun rehearsal, we caught up with the students and director of the play for a sneak peek into their zany universe.
Just a look at the cast of characters — a pair of young protagonists, a villain called Doc Sadhu who steals the imagination of children, unscrupulous Arabians traders and historical characters central to Chennai such as Robert Clive and Thiruvalluvar — is enough to set the stage for a rollicking ride. The fact that the play is helmed by director Nilu, who has long been associated with theatre in the city, is an added attraction.
“The play is a caper! It’s written for children – it’s got a bit of time travel here and there, villains and nice guys, the history of Chennai from the British era, local music — even a Bharathanatyam performance!” he exclaims. “It’s Chennai-centric, but of the past, present and future!” And in truth, as the children mouthed their lines and shot one-liners, everyone both on and off stage seemed to be having a ball.
“We’ve had school plays for annual days and theatre class but this is the first time the students are staging a play for the general public,” adds J Jaibala, principal, The Schram Academy. “They’re absolutely excited to be part of this for the very first time.”
Nilu adds that the kids have been more than dedicated and hardworking. “I find is that it is easier to mould kids than adults. Children are open to anything and the nicest thing about them is when you make a play, within a week or 10 days — they know their lines by heart. That’s invariably the problem with adults, which is one of the reasons I’m doing directing now and not acting!” he chuckles. “It’s one of the most fulfilling experiences that I’ve had — directing children in plays.”
The dance sequences have been choreographed by the John Britto Dance Company (so expect quite a few foot-tapping numbers) while the music is by Dan Kristen. With such evocative attractions, it’s ‘time’ to make a beeline for the past (or the future)!
Watch the play on Jan 20 and 21 at Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Hall. For details, call 9962139668 or 9840838390