A brew of talent and compassion

Updated: Apr 15, 2019, 09:18 IST | Snigdha Hasan | Mumbai

Set in a magical world, Sapan Saran's play revolves around the adventures of a spirited orphan, who in a quest to make the best tea in the world, learns important life lessons

The play makes interesting use of ladders as part of set design
The play makes interesting use of ladders as part of set design

Is intelligence good enough on its own, or is it one piece of the jigsaw that makes a person complete? The play Jhoom Jhoom Jhumpa, written and directed by Sapan Saran, explores this question through the adventures of its protagonist Jhumpa. The production, which premiered at Prithvi's Wintertime children's festival in December 2018, will be staged this week during its summer programme for kids. However, while it promises to bring positive human values and the magic of theatre to children, Saran says it is a play both, for the child in you and the mature voice in your child.

The germ of the idea for the production was born in 2016 as part of an initiative by Tamaasha Theatre, which Saran founded with Sunil Shanbag. "We did a programme called Art with Care in collaboration with St Jude India Childcare Centres, which provide shelter to children being treated for cancer. It ran for two years, where we put up several interactive performances that introduced the kids to puppetry, clowning and music apart from theatre. Jhoom Jhoom Jhumpa was one of the original 20-minute works we created for the programme, which was later developed into a one-and-a-hour show."

The lead actor Priyanka Kotwal is from the Salaam Balak Trust
The lead actor Priyanka Kotwal is from the Salaam Balak Trust

Set in a magical world, the play revolves around a spirit and a courageous orphan, Jhumpa, who hails from a non-privileged background. A bright child, she accomplishes whatever she puts her mind to, and this time, she sets out to make the best tea in the world. The plot progresses as her world collides with the kingdom of bats, and that of a competitive king. During this journey, she comes to understand the value of hard work and true friendship, and that talent must be accompanied by compassion if she is to be a sensitive person.

The 10-member cast of the play includes Padma Damodaran and Bhushan Vikas; how the lead character came to be played by Priyanka Kotwal is an interesting story. "I had auditioned children from the Salaam Balak Trust that works closely with students from the city's municipal schools to play the lead part in the play. Priyanka was selected through that audition and went through one and half months of training. She is a delight to watch on stage!"

Sapan Saran
Sapan Saran

Saran shares. Her first directorial venture for children, the production, Saran tells us, came with a huge sense of responsibility towards them. "Kids make for a very sharp audience. So, our focus was on how not to dumb it down for the young minds and keep it engaging."

On April 16, 4 pm; April 17, 12 pm and 4 pm
At Prithvi Theatre, Juhu.
Log on to bookmyshow.com
Entry Rs 300

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