THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In rustling silks and glinting jewels, the kings, queens, princes and princesses lined up on stage. As the mighty ‘men’ made gestures showing off their power and the lovely ‘ladies’ flaunted their beauty, a smile appeared on every face that gathered inside the Vyloppilli Samskirthi Bhavan on Friday afternoon. Slowly the play ‘The boy with a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin’ began to get unfurled. The highlight was the actors, who are the tiny tots of Rainbows Montessori, who belong to the age group of three to eight. Nearly 110 students were part of the play, who appeared on stage in various scenes during the seventh annual day celebrations of the school.
The students have been undergoing practice since November last year, under the guidance of Francoise Calvel, the French theatre artist and Rejini Netto, director of the school. Says Calvel, “students were so enthusiastic to participate in the play. As the toddlers of three to five are so young to speak dialogues, only children above five were given the main roles with dialogues. Others were trained to dance in the play.” The plot, an Indian fairy tale of six pages, was made into a twenty-four page script for the play.
“Both Calvel and I worked to write dialogues for the entire script. The costume selection for the characters was done by Calvel,” says Rejini.
The plot revolves around a boy who is born with a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin to king Veerputr and queen Jayalakshmi, the daughter of a gardener. The king already had four queens, who all failed to beget him a child.
Jayalakshmi conceives much to the fury of others. While the king is away hunting she gives birth to his child. The wicked four plan to kill the child and assign the duty to a nurse. They also manage to make the king believe that the queen had given birth to a stone instead of a son.
But the baby is not killed and grows in the stomach of Sanker, the dog, and Vikram, the bull. He later gets Katar, the magical horse for his company and marries the beautiful princess Aiswarya, daughter of king Abhimanyu. The story concludes with the young prince joining with his parents, the king and the queen while the culprits get their due.
The judicious utilisation of shadow theatre too was one of the highlights of the play. And well before the play commenced, Calvel made a humble request to the audience to leave the place and enter just before the show begins to keep the ‘suspense’. “On stage it is not easy to make some scenes happen. Shadow play makes that task simpler,” Calvel explains the rationale behind including shadow theatre in the play.
The play kept the audience, the majority comprising parents and grandparents, glued to their seats as they passionately watched the performance of their little ones on stage. The kids also tickled their funny bones, by delivering some serious dialogues and making solemn mannerisms. At the end, anyone could undoubtedly say that it was a real visual fiesta.