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A dramatic weekend for kids

It’s a dramatic weekend for kids, finds Suprita Mitter as two plays for under-18s open bookings

Talking toys
Remember the look of glee on every child's face when they watched the animated Hollywood flick, Toy Story? Happy Birthday, a desi play revolving around a conversation between toys, might manage to bring back that expression on their face. "We thought of what children like in today's age . The advent of technology has changed the equation that kids have with their toys. They also don't play outdoors as much, the play comments on these factors. The concept of talking toys is inspired by Toy Story but then that's where the similarity ends. The concept has been used in other plays and films much before Toy Story as well but the context is different," says director Mayank Pahwa.

Seema Pahwa with Sarah Gupta (front) during a rehearsal for Happy Birthday
Seema Pahwa with Sarah Gupta (front) during a rehearsal for Happy Birthday

The 55-minute play revolves around a girl whose grandmother promises to get her a present for her birthday. The girl and her existing toys assume that she is going to be presented a new toy. Her toys chat excitedly about the new member and also about their own future. "The toys have another responsibility, where they give the girl a dream every night. The story spans over two nights before the girl's birthday. On the second night, even her dreams go haywire because of the chaos between the toys. The girl's grandma is ill so the girl is worried she may not see her again and may not have a present at all on her birthday," Pahwa shares. "Finally, she receives a book of stories that her grandma has written for her, along with a letter.


(Above; below) Scenes from a previous performance of Krishna Kidding

The story also addresses subjects like not giving up hope and not forgetting one chapter of your life when you move on to the next. We urge children to not throw away their old toys and give them to others, who can use them," adds Pahwa. With nine original tunes as part of a soundtrack composed by Mahar Chemble, and simple sets that open up into an elaborate version when the girl dreams and turns basic when she wakes up, the play uses physical comedy to convey the message. "Verbal comedy is lost on children, sometimes. They prefer loud gestures. Since most of the eight-member cast plays the role of toys, we could easily accommodate this style. Adults will enjoy the story and the dialogues too," he assures.

Krishna Kidding

On: MAY 28, 12 noon
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point. log on to www.bookmyshow.in
Call: 66223737

Fun with Krishna
Makarand Deshpande's Ansh Theatre Group will present Krishna Kidding, a humorous play about Lord Krishna's mischievous nature. "The Hinglish play looks at different events in Krishna's childhood. We have chosen popular events in his life like Kaliya Mardan, his interaction with the demon who Kansa sends to kill him when he is an infant and the Govardhan Parvat incident along with a few others. What set Krishna apart from other children was that he could see the future. Be it something minor like getting a scolding from his mom or foreseeing an attack by Kansa, he handled situations differently because he could see the outcome. His superpowers make his battles and hence, the scenes, hilarious," explains Rajiv Deshpande, part of Ansh's production team.

The play uses basic sets to recreate Gokul and Kansa's palace. Krishna and Kansa wear traditional costumes while the rest of the cast are dressed according to a rural theme. The play will feature live music by Ashish Gade, who has composed original tracks about Lord Krishna. "The play has a mix of action-packed scenes and dialogues and can be enjoyed by all age groups," says Deshpande. When we prod about how different entertaining art forms fuse in the play, he says, "You can experience it only when you watch the play."

On: MAY 29, 6.30 pm
At: Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Call: 66223737

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