The students of Christ Nagar International School (CNIS), Kowdiar are on a high. Their team of eight students recently won the award for Best Production at this year’s national finals of Annual Inter-School Drama competition held by the British Council.
The finals, which were held in Kolkata, saw the participation of eight schools with CNIS being the only one from Kerala. The teams that had made it to the finals had to beat 185 other school teams get through two rounds.
“In the first elimination round, we had to send in our scripts,” said teacher Jeena George, who prepared the script based on a story written by Ranjit Padmakumar, a class 10 student of the school. “The second round was in Delhi, where the selected 45 schools from round one had to stage their plays.”
The theme for this year, around which the participating schools had to centre their plays, was ‘India-UK : A modern fairytale’. Accordingly, CNIS chose to put on stage ‘The 21st Century Cinderella’.
Here, the heroine is Cinderella Varma, daughter of a multi-billionaire father, and also happens to belong to the Travancore Royal Family. She falls in love with English pop sensation Matt Roland, who marries her “just for her riches”. Soon the stars fall from the eyes of the love-struck Cinderella making way for an expensive divorce. In the end, “they live happily, separately ever after.”
Karthik Radhakrishnan of Class 9, who played Cinderella’s doting father, said, “Cinderella’s father never trusted Matt anyway; he just gave in to the wishes of his daughter. In the end, he becomes a broken shell of a man seeing his daughter’s despair at her unhappy marriage.”
The lesson that Nikita Xavi, who played Cinderella’s not-cruel-but-indifferent stepmother, took away was, “Sometimes, you should just let different cultures be and not try to mix them up.”
Asked about their reaction to their win, Karthik said, “We didn’t react at first because none of us was expecting it. The other plays - for example, there was one based on Little Red-Riding Hood - were really good.” The three-member judging panel included noted theatre person Sanjana Kapooor.
A large part of the credit, the students feel, goes to their teacher Chandu G Nair who directed the play.
“It was Chandu sir who taught us everything about acting and theatre from scratch,” said Nikita. “He also brought in elements of Kerala like ‘kavadi’ and ‘chenda’, and also some street-play character to our play.”