Akriti Singh’s Breadcrumbs brings forgotten characters from your favourite fairytales to life
I've always been fascinated by folk and fairy tales,” says 27-year-old theatre actor Akriti Singh. “These stories may have been written keeping children in mind, but the ideas conveyed are profound,” she says. Fuelled by the need to explore the real values hidden with these narratives, Singh decided to pen down and direct her first children’s play, titled Breadcrumbs. The play, which will be staged in the city this month, will see actors Varun Vazir, Dilshad Patel, Shivangi Singh, Gavin Methalaka and Pratik Kothari in key roles.
Singh uses fairytales as a reference point to discuss serious issues in a light-hearted way
In Breadcrumbs, Singh recalls some of the most loved, as well as forgotten characters from popular fables and weaves a modern fairytale around them. She brings in the rat that transformed into a pageboy to accompany Cinderella to Prince Charming’s ball, the two tailors, who made the Emperor’s clothes in Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale Emperor’s New Clothes, the long-haired beauty Rapunzel from a German fairy tale of the same name, as well as the speaking magic mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
“These stories have been handed down to us since generations. We’ve all heard or read them at some point of time in our lives. So I thought that instead of re-telling these fairytales again, I could instead use them as reference and convey my stories to kids,” says Singh, while explaining why she chose characters from fairytales for her play.
“Kids love stories of kings, queens, princesses, animals and fairies. So it becomes easier to incorporate familiar elements into one’s story, if you want to hold their attention,” the actor adds. But even as she describes Breadcrumbs as “crazily comical,” Singh says that at its core, it’s a very complex play. “Through the play, I’ve touched upon various problems plaguing our society, including issues like environment, financial instability, the role of advertisement in our lives etc. The idea was to raise serious issues, but to do it in a fun way, so that kids take back more than just the story,” she says.
Singh, who has previously acted in several Hindi plays like Shah Ki Kanjari, Laal Pencil, Bade Miyaan Deewane, and also performed a storytelling session called True Ghost Stories, has been part of the theatre scene for nearly four years, but started directing just recently. “I wanted to do something new and challenging,” she says.
Singh says that the lack of good content for children got her working on Breadcrumbs. “One should never dumb down content, when writing for children. Children are naturally instinctive and sharp, and can understand complex ideas easily. We tend to approach children’s plays from a superior position, when what one should really be doing is, thinking like them,” says Singh.
“The only problem is that when you write plays for kids, you need to be creative and think out-of-the-box to ensure that you hold their attention throughout the performance. Because unlike adults, children cannot pretend to enjoy something they don’t,” adds Singh.
Where: Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
When: May 21, 4 PM
Entry: Rs 350