Living in the moment

Updated: Jun 02, 2020, 10:17 IST | Sukanya Datta | Mumbai

A 10-day theatre workshop will use improv games to help sharpen your child's reflex thinking and collaboration skills.

The workshop will cater to children from three age groups and will be divided into five themes
The workshop will cater to children from three age groups and will be divided into five themes

There are no wrong answers in improv. It’s all about playing along," feels New Delhi-based theatre practitioner Vaishali Chakravarty, whose arts-based learning initiative Joy of Drama will launch a new online workshop called InstaDrama on June 15. Much like its name, the 10-day sessions will be about instant drama — surrendering to the moment, thinking on your feet and collaborating with your team and the audience — skills that have become key to surviving the world in the long run.

Why improv, we ask Chakravarty, who has been working with children and theatre for more than six years. "Improv is an inherent part of any activity you undertake with children because they are constantly in the moment. Since you can’t fail at improv, children learn to say a yes to all kinds of situations. That is an attitude that we have been developing among kids we work with for a long time," she adds. The classes, which will be conducted via video calls, will be divided into five themes. Each batch, consisting of seven children, will be formed depending on the age group — six to nine years, 10 to 13 years and 14 to 16 years. "For each batch, there will be five themes that will be picked keeping in mind the age group. For example, for the youngest batch, one of the themes will be pirates. We’ll improvise on elements related to pirates. So, on the first day, we will play games related to things one can associate with pirates — gold, ship, sea, sword-fighting, etc. On the second day, the children will individually build their own narratives related to the theme, based on suggestions and situations thrown at them by the teacher," Chakravarty explains, adding that all stories will then be put together to create a narrative.

Each participant will build their own narrative on the spot based on themes
Each participant will build their own narrative on the spot based on themes

A range of games and activities will act like seeds to plant ideas in the minds of the participants. "We’ll modify the games depending on the theme. These include scavenger hunt, which will involve the children finding things around them related to the theme; personification that will require them to think like a thing or a person; word association games; solving riddles; and quiz, among others," shares the theatre artiste. There will be a couple of free sessions that will be open to all to gauge what they are signing up for, she adds.

At the end of the day, the sessions are about learning life skills, believes Chakravarty, which is part of the organisation’s Awesome Summers workshops. "The whole point is to enable the children to dabble with ideas and engross themselves in the theme. This helps to sharpen their reflex thinking and presence of mind. We want children not to react, but to respond to the games and to life. The responses have to not only be quick, but also well thought out," she signs off.

Vaishali Chakravarty
Vaishali Chakravarty

From June 15
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Cost Rs 3,500 for members and Rs 4,500 for others

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