Striving to achieve a balance between academics and extracurricular activities, children’s theatre personality Arundhati Chattopadhyaya has directed a unique theatre performance comprising an adaptation of a Gemma Sneddon play; a script by ‘In Stages’ students; and a dance performance choreographed by Eby John will be held on March 18 at Sunaparanta – Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho. NT KURIOCITY speaks to Arundhati to know more about this play and its highlights
SHERAS FERNANDES| NT KURIOCITY
A rarity among theatre performances is to solely involve children to render an enthralling act. Directed by theatre personality Arundhati Chattopadhyaya, this play has little to do with the typical theatre performances that focus on giving out a message to the audience. In Stages, a theatre company for the young is all set to present a show comprising of three parts: ‘Hitting the Fourth Wall’ – an adaptation of a Gemma Sneddon play; ‘Street Dog: A Musical’ – a script by In Stages students with original lyrics by Radha Thomas; and a dance performance on the lawns choreographed by Eby John. The show will feature 18 children from the age group of 10 to 15 years showcasing their talents at Sunaparanta – Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho.
The performance has roped in personalities actively involved in theatre. The credits of bringing forth this show are shared by producer, Ruth Beatriz Costa; art director, Shallu Sharma; choreographer, Eby John and videographer, Ganesh Mahajan and Hiranya. ‘In Stages’ is a theatre company for young adults. Speaking more about this Arundhati says: “I work with young adults encouraging them to brainstorm and write their own script. The children are taken into account and are free to use their creativity, agility and sharp minds.”
It starts with brainstorming and improvising a thought, further developing and building upon it. “We start by thinking of a theme, developing it and finally presenting it. In today’s times children due to their busy and tiring schedule in school have no time to spare,” says Arundhati. She believes that the best way to progress in life is by listening to one’s own inner strengths and voices. “The play will encourage children to experiment and come to a realisation where they can make their own decisions,” she says.
Speaking of the show which will feature two different types of performances she says: “The idea of directing a play on street dogs came when I heard a song on them written by a friend from Bangalore. When I heard the music I saw the possibilities and wanted to do something with children who like playing with street dogs.” She further says: “I wanted it to be a musical but not a musical programme. Moreover, I wanted it to be like a play and as short as a film, a story with a film like concept.”
The show begins with the performance of an adaptation of a Gemma Sneddon play. “The fourth wall is a theatrical term used for an imaginary wall existing between the audience and actor. This term isn’t new and is existent for many years now,” says Arundhati who likes working with abstracts and spaces. “The actors in the play have to break the fourth wall to connect with the audience. The play is short and full of humour. The story of the play revolves around two major character named constructs (not constructed yet).
They are two blank characters who have stumbled on stage and have no idea what they have to do. Everyone gathered is upset and the two are chided by the audience, director, writer, etc. They have no experience but they have to entertain the audience which leaves them puzzled,” she says. “The play depicts the relationship between the audience and actor. But even if the wall is broken, will the actors be able to reach the audience?” says Arundhati stating that this is the surprise element of the entire play.
This is followed by another play revolving around five stray dogs living in and around Sunaparanta in Altinho. Interestingly, Arundhati has incorporated scenes of every remote corner of the Centre. “The location has been used to its maximum. The story revolves around the five stray dogs and their relationship with people working at Sunaparanta, including the sweepers,” she says. The play unfolds narrating the fate of these dogs, the turning point in their life and the unexpected ending.
With the inclusion of all aspects that make an ideal thematic performance, In Stages aims to convey a strong message and showcase the hidden talents that lay within every performer.
(The show will be held on March 18 from 6.30 p.m. onwards at Sunaparanta – Goa Centre for the Arts, Altinho-Panaji. The show is open to all.)