Go for a play with your toddler that uses gibberish words from baby poems and food rhymes
A new play for 'early' children uses gibberish words that hark back to baby poems and food rhymes
Director Shaili Sathyu's new play might have adults at their wits end. Her characters, she informs, speak in different Indian languages, which when strung together make absolutely no sense. Yet, when a toddler listens to this gibberish, s/he is likely to break into giggles. That's what theatre for early children (ages 1 to 4) is meant to do - "It doesn't involve linear storytelling, neither does it teach kids language or prepare them for school," says Mumbai-based Sathyu, adding that the sole motivation is to get them to appreciate cultural arts.
Sathyu's 30-minute play, Chidiya, Udd!, which premiered at the VISIONI 2018, the 14th edition the International Festival of Theatre and Culture for Early Years, in Bologna, Italy, is being staged for the first time in the city. Written by Sathyu, the play, curated by Gillo Theatre Repertory, tells the story of two friends - a little child (Barkha Fatnani) and bird (Dhanesh Gopalakrishnan).
The bird sits on the window sill each day, when the child notices it. Curiosity brings the two together and a new friendship begins, as they discover many things around them. "The play is inspired by baby poems and food rhymes from across India," says Sathyu, adding that she chose a child and bird to take this narrative forward, because she noticed they were recurring elements in most poems for kids. But, would a 10-month-old understand the emotions that are being played out on stage.
Sathyu maintains that while we will never be able to understand the complex thoughts and feelings experienced by toddlers, their curiosity about the world is not any different from the adult. But, the theatre they experience cannot be the same. "The play, one will notice is very stylised. We don't use a wide stage because it's too much for a child to absorb. We also don't use too much sound, visuals or language so they don't get distracted. It's small-sized theatre for small-sized people."
When: 11 AM and 5 PM
Where: G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Shakti Mills Lane, off Dr E Moses Road, Mahalaxmi
Entry: Rs 300 (limited seating; check with venue for current booking details)
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