CHENNAI: Colourful props strewn all over the floor and actors meticulously rehearsing their parts — jumping, dancing, skating and what not! This is the scene at The Little Theatre, Nungambakkam, on a weekday afternoon. As the theatre group is prepping for the upcoming The Little Festival 2017, City Express chats with Krishnakumar Balasubramanian (KK), director of the plays Garage Gang Reloaded and Greenman, about the festival, importance of physical theatre and more…
Garage Gang was showcased in 2016’s Little Theatre Festival. KK says that the ‘eccentric bunch of mechanics’ are coming back — this time in a reloaded version. “That’s the beauty of an original script…it has the scope to evolve with time. Initially, when Garage Gang was penned, the idea was to create a physical piece and work on the specific skill set of actors and this year we are very close to achieving that,” he claims.
With the addition of new characters, he says that the play is a celebration of the human imagination. “We are all put in small boxes — the way we think and see things. This play is about bringing the inner child in you to the auditorium. It’s a highly interactive piece,” he explains.
While Garage Gang seems to have caught the attention of children for its physical theatre, KK opines that everyone is wired to the body language and physicality of an actor. “I believe that language should never be a barrier when working on a piece for children. A lot of subjects can be explored and messages can transcend through physical theatre,” he shares as he continues talking about their latest production, Greenman.
Calling it a ‘completely experimental piece’, he says, the two-man show will feature KK and Vikas Rao. “It’s just going to be two actors on stage and we are trying to keep it simple — tell the simple story of a green man, with the subtext being bullying, racism and a lot about how we perceive a child to be in the society,” he shares.
Though pulling off a two-man show could be a challenge, KK says that the key remains in holding the momentum. “Children are connected to colours, movements and space. So, it is going to be challenging for the two of us to hold their attention. But, we are going to dabble with lights and space and acrobatics of course!” he adds.
‘Garage Gang’ will be staged on June 29 and 30 at 11 am and July 1 at 6 pm; ‘Greenman’ will be staged on July 4 and 5 at 11 am at the Museum Theatre, Egmore. For details, call: 28211115, 9677125738
What kids want
While the idea of the festival is for children to engage in conversations about the world’s perspective on art and have a holistic knowledge, KK rues that the existing education system bottles the imagination of children. “They have a pre-written idea of the history and art of other countries. Exposing them to theatre and productions of other theatre groups from other parts of the world will help children empathise with cross culture art, humour and characters, and how they think. It’s important to have a way to explore,” he explains. After premiering at the international theatre festival for a young audience , The Little Festival 2017, will then play in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on August 17, 18 and 19.