An adventure on stage

Anupama Chandrasekhar’s theatrical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story, ‘The Snow Queen’ was recently performed by UK-based Trestle Theatre at Ranga Shankara in association with the British Council.

The auditorium was buzzing with the sound of giggles and gasps as the audience, comprising mostly children, enjoyed the European tale retold in an Indian context.  The basic storyline was kept in tact — the protagonist Gowri embarks on an adventure to rescue her best friend Kumar from the clutches of the evil Snow Queen.

But it was her journey through the rocky ravines of Chambal, the backwaters of Kerala, Bollywood and the chaos of Mumbai streets that made it a memorable play. Despite the Indian set-up and the level of drama, the fairytale with  all its morals was not forgotten.

“I liked it when the girl goes in search for her friend. Her character made me smile the most,” says nine-year-old Mahi, who watched the play. In the same breath, she remembers another point and adds, “It was magical to see the land of snow and I almost felt like I was there!”

It was an elaborate adventure that unfolded in front of the audience in the form of physical theatre. A seven-member cast worked together to perfection as they covered a multitude of characters — from the surreal half-man/half-crow Kaka, who doubled up as a maniacal auto driver, to the clichéd Bollywood hero having a bhangra dance off with the villain to win the actress’s heart.

“The play was very nice for both children and adults. It had a good mix of emotions that could educate the child and it was exciting enough to transport you into another world,” says Khushwant Singh Komal, a parent.

“The props and set-up were beautifully done and did justice to the kind of details they wanted to get the audience to notice,” he adds.

What was nice was the interactive session after the play between the cast and crew and the audience members. For those who stayed back to be a part of this conversation, it offered a deeper insight into the play itself.

“Through a passionate belief in creating the very best of theatre for young people and a genuine desire to cross borders and make meaningful inter-cultural exchange, this tour has been ‘magicked’ into existence. It is a great honour for us to visit here,” says Rosamunde Hutt, the play’s director.

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