The city’s renowned theatre ‘Ravindra Kalakshethra witnessed a kid’s play depicting 4 stories of different versions the Indian epic Ramayana. Around 150 children showcased their acting talents on Friday, May 3rd and Saturday May 4th. The kids troop involved students of 5-8th grade from 12 Government schools across Dommasandra, Anekal. Mantra4Change and Haadibadi , two theatre based NGOs coordinated with the schools, students and parents. Their endeavor was to bring together multiple diverse cultures and provide a voice to these marginalized children using theatre as a unifying platform.
Saavirada Ramayana draws inspiration from Karnataka’s oral and written rustic and folk traditions. The kids with their fancy costumes, unique stage props, and spirited music, took the audience through four wonderful episodes- ‘Maruthi Vijaya, ALilaayana, Lava Kusha Leele and 301 Ramayana.
A summer camp called ‘Rangasadagara’, celebration of joys, colors, expressions and narratives was organized by the two NGOs in collaboration with Department of Education, Government of Karnataka. This camp served as a stage for these rural kids to immerse themselves in folklores, story building, Kolata, Yakshagaana, films screening and various other art forms. Every child was allowed to express and identify themselves with such unique traditions thereby enabling them to break free from shackles and stereotypes imposed by the society.
While talking about why they chose theatre as the medium the play’s Director Ravikiran said, “Theatre helps develop the physical, creative and emotional growth of children. It places the emphasis of learning of a child beyond the text and writing which plays a very important role in child’s holistic development”.
Further when asked about why they picked Ramayana the Director added, “Ramayana is a narrative that is deeply ingrained in the collective memory of our country. However what is interesting is the various narratives, forms, versions of it and the coexistence of all these narratives. It is essential we allow this existence of diversities of Ramayana and development of each narrative, Rama, Hanumantha, Sita, Ravana etc that is unique to its language, region, form.”
When asked about how the Mantra4Change and Haadibadi foundations could organize such a huge event Revathi, the programme manager said it was more of a collective community involved venture rather than single sided efforts. The kids, their parents and teachers were extremely enthusiastic and each of them contributed their bit towards putting the performance together. She was surprised by how well all of them cooperated and voluntarily took care of the traveling arrangements.
Vela, Dhanlakshmi and Niveditha aged 11 to 12 years shared how fulfilling and exciting their experience practicing for the play for a month was. They said that they did not face any difficulties in remembering pages of dialogues as they mostly learnt them orally with the professional guidance of the team of Directors.
All in all the play was a treat to every Ramayana enthusiast in the city.