After six zonal rounds in different schools of the City, Atlier Theatre presented the top five plays in front of a packed audience at Kamani Auditorium this past week. From famous Hindi novels to well-known American productions, the plays staged by students from different schools left the audiences awestruck.
The event started with Gopi Gavayya Bagha Bajayya, a Bengali story adapted by Saadat Hasan Manto. Staged by students of Khaitan Public School, Sahibabad, the play was a simple narrative of two characters - Gopi and Bagha - endeavouring to explore themselves. They receive magical powers from Bhoot Raja who helps Gopi and Bagha to overpower oppressors trying to dominate their people. The duo who began as dreamers and aimless lads at the beginning of the play, by the end prove to be great heroes and saviours of their people.
Pratyush Toor, a freelance theatre director with the school says, “We wanted to keep our play crisp and tight so that kids are remain full of energy. Since it’s an adaptation I have kept the way it was written by Manto except that we had live orchestra which played folk music, lending a true feel to the skit.”
After that, it was time for the audience to see some serious stuff by students of Bharti Public School, Swasthya Vihar, who staged Tamas, based on the novel by Bhisham Sahni. Students of Std X and XI performed brilliantly. However, the play’s length made both parents and kids restless.
Thereafter, Ahlcon International School, performed Amoeba, a play which narrated a short story about marginalised groups who lose their identity in a society dominated by the powerful. Later, it was Apsara ka Tota by students of Mahraja Agrasen School, Ashok Vihar, which highlighted the value of labour.
Finally, it was the turn of an English play, The Man Who Came to Dinner - a comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart which was staged by the students of St. Mark’s Senior Secondary School and revolves around radio critic Mr Whiteside, Dr. Bradley - the absent-minded town physician and Miss Preen, his frantic nurse, to take centrestage.
Laxmi Srinivas, the director shared with Metrolife that the play is based, “on the famous Broadway production. It is a three-hour play but it has been re-scripted and adapted to make it age appropriate for our audience. So it was condensed to one-and-a-half hour and children in the age group of 15-16 years participated.”
Festival director Kuljeet Singh says, “I have been working with school kids for last 11-12 years and I realised that talent of these kids are restricted to schools only. But Bachpan, held every year, is to help them get exposure.”