A performance on water for tiny tots

Feb 16, 2015, 07:54 IST | Krutika Behrawala

Immerse your child in a fascinating journey that explores all facets of water through Helios Theatre's H2O. This wordless performance features three artists prepped with elements like ice-blocks, buckets of water and other inanimate objects

So, you can't quite explain the concept of water to your toddler, or has your six-year-old just learnt to splash in the pool? This evening, take your child to watch H2O, a unique performance revolving around water, specially designed for children between the ages of two and eight years. Performed by Helios Theatre, a professional group of artists developing plays for kids from the age of two, the play has been brought to the city for the first time by Goethe Institute-Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai, in collaboration with Junoon theatre group and Sitara Studio.

A live performance of H2O
A live performance of H2O

Why water?
Sameera Iyengar, director, Junoon, says, "H2O is a live performance with water, that makes us re-look at this 'everyday' element anew, with wonder. Three artists are part of the performance, along with ice-blocks, buckets of water, glasses and other objects." Without any dialogue, the performance will be heavy on light and sound effects. "Children are open to all sorts of communication, and they don't privilege language over and above other sensory communication and reception. A wordless performance allows the young child to engage fully with all their senses, which is natural for them," she reasons. The theatre group will perform a special show today at 4 pm, for children associated with various NGOs.

A performer interacting with a bucket of water in H2O
A performer interacting with a bucket of water in H2O

Age matters
When asked why the performance has been designed specifically for the ages, two to eight years, Iyengar replies, "There has been a move for some time, towards developing performance for toddlers and very young kids. This is a new area of exploration in theatre, and not one that we have undertaken that much yet in India, though I believe some people have been experimenting with it." She adds that as the play is for young kids, it lets go of the need for a narrative, and instead just takes the young audiences on a fascinating and involved journey.

Setting a stage
Iyengar believes that children's theatre in India has developed over the years, thanks to efforts of actor Mohan Agashe who was instrumental in bringing the German Grips theatre approach to India. This, as well as recent initiatives like ASSITEJ, an international network of theatre for children and young people, Shaili Sathyu's theatre company Gillo and the Summertime programme at Prithvi have helped. However, it's a long way from reaching its full potential, she reminds. "We forget, at times, that children are small people and don't like to be talked down to. If city theatre practitioners creating plays for children could update themselves on the thinking around children in today's world, it will help to create expressions that will have a marvellous impact on young audiences," she maintains.

On: Today, 7 pm
At: Sitara Studio, Tilak Bhavan, Kakasaheb Gadgil Marg, Dadar (W).
Entry: Free (limited seating, walk-ins will be seated only if space available)
Email: ayaz@junoontheatre.org

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