The tale of the out-of-luck orphan Oliver Twist and his journey by Charles Dickens has always held a special position on stage. In 1960, the British musical Oliver!, was the first musical adaptation of a Charles Dickens work to be a stage hit. Nearly a decade ago, Raell Padamsee staged the musical Oliver! in the city with a cast of 30 adults and 50 children.
This week, Padamsee’s Academy for Creative Expression is revisiting the classic. Actor and singer Shahriyar Atai, who was the original Fagin in their production will take children through the scenes of Oliver Twist.
Relive the classic
Through this workshop, children between 6 to 13 years will get the chance to discover the different characters in the play and experience how it feels to be part of Fagin’s gang. Children will act and create their own street urchin attire using props and costumes, try out street jobs using role play, such as a shoeshine boy or being a flower seller and find out what it was like being made to learn pickpocket tricks. Certificates of participation will be given at the end of the course.
Speaking about the event, Padamsee says, “Oliver Twist is a lovely story for kids. Since the actual musical was done by us in 2001, we felt that it made for a perfect theme for this workshop, as it involves singing, dancing and acting. The actual Fagin (Atai) will guide them through the layers in the story and in the process they will learn about the various facets of theatre in a fun-filled manner. At the end, they will put up a show for their parents.”
Padamsee adds that in today’s times, children are overwhelmed by visual stimuli all the time, be it in the form of video games or television and such workshops offer a nice change. “They foster teamwork, boost confidence, creativity and help children think out of the box,” observes Padamsee.
Atai, who has been acting in plays since he was 9, feels that these sessions will help children become uninhibited and also help him as an instructor. “The fresh approach of today’s children and their take on things helps me look at everything with a new perspective and re-invent myself constantly,” he maintains.