Cast in innocence

Cast in innocence

Childs Play

Cast in innocence

“We were looking for the right vehicle to do a play, especially for children, that was not preachy or over simplified, filled with cliches or literally childish like children’s theatre often tends to become. We found that this piece created in 1980 by Kuo Pao Kun, a dramatist from Singapore and based on the French masterpiece Le Petit Prince by Antoine Saint Exupery lent itself perfectly to the kind of theatrical experience we were hoping to create,” said Nayantara, one of the three-member-cast, who was instrumental in adapting it to the Indian stage.

The plotline itself was simple. A young artistic girl is frustrated by the lack of imagination displayed by the adults around her. One day, she meets a prince from another planet who has a problem of his own. He has a single rose growing in his garden which may be eaten by his pet goat. He loves both his rose and his goat and needs to protect one from the other without adopting harsh isolating measures like fencing the rose or tethering the goat.

With the problem in hand, the pair set off to find a solution encountering different characters along the way. Seamlessly integrating some magic tricks, song, dance and interaction with the audience, the cast managed to keep the audience spellbound and highly involved with the on-stage action right through the play.

“I saw how well the play was adapted to local culture in Singapore using elements of Chinese culture very effectively and we did the same when we staged it first in Mumbai and now in Bangalore. It was wonderful to watch the kids come up with their own take on the City they live in and add their own perspectives so honestly and naturally. For instance, when we asked the kids what the most popular food in Bangalore was the answers ranged from pizza to bisisbele bath, both being true,” laughed Nayantara.

It took a couple of months training under a professional magician to incorporate the magic tricks which added a whole new dimension to the performance. Ultimately, the girl and the prince found what they were looking for and the message played itself out gently without much fuss and bother. “Every rose is special, just like every child and every problem has a just and equitable solution, if one has sufficient child-like simplicity and curiosity to find it.”

The music and lyrics were written by Asif Ali Beg and the play was directed by Jaimini Pathak.