Making of the Mahatma

Two hundred young performers gear up for a mammoth show that tells you how to use Gandhi’s teachings to resolve life’s niggling issues

Craig Dequadros ushers us into a ground-floor hall at the ADAPT (Able Disable All People Together) centre in the Reclamation area of Bandra West. He barely finishes introductions before we are faced with a barrage of information. 

A rehearsal in progress at ADAPT centre in Bandra West. The performers are from various schools and NGOs. One segment sees visually impaired kids perform Malkhamb. Pic/Sharad Vegda

“The play is about Mahatma Gandhi and how he taught others to follow the path of non-violence,” says an articulate Std VIII student, Kimberly Van Drine, from Bandra’s Apostolic Carmel High School. Daiv Dalal, from SVKM JV Parekh International School, steps in. “In the play,” he says, “we kids go to a camp and are having a gala time singing and dancing. Suddenly, we land in a serious problem. Our teacher, in an attempt to calm us down and help us find a solution, recounts various stories from Gandhiji’s life and tells us how he dealt with the hurdles he faced. From these, we learn how to overcome our hurdle and deal with life by using Gandhiji’s techniques — be it ahimsa, satyagraha, self reliance, or cleanliness.” We would not have been able to sum up Ace Production’s latest production Mahatma, better.

The play, directed by Raell Padamsee, will be staged by 200 young performers, aged four to 18. The performers, says Dequadros, associate director, come from various city schools and eight NGOs. On working with children, he says, “We let them find their own voice. Also, we make it a point to teach them how to improvise on stage.”

Dance is a major attraction of the two-hour long play, rehearsals for which are being conducted at various spots across the city.

Nine-year-old Vickey, who has broken a few bones already, says, “Dance, martial arts and capoeira,” when we ask the B-Boying fan what drives him. Besides jazz, freestyle and hip-hop, the show will also see a Malkhamb performance.

When: September 4 and 5 (two shows each — 4 pm and 7.30 pm)
Where: Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA
Entry: Rs 200 to Rs 3,000

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