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Bewitching Little Barnstormers

Have you seen your child enacting the school classroom scene and posing as a teacher with a stick in hand and teaching the imaginary class or the child pretending to picking up the telephone and answering the dial tone as if in response to a real call...

This is a common experience all of us share as a child and also as an adult.

The effort and concentration required by a child to enact compared to an adult is to nothing! In childhood, drama needs no written lines to memorize,no structured environment or a need for an audience. Children need just a secure, interesting environment and to be free to experiment the roles which enchant them. It is a way of self awareness in relation to their surroundings.

Oscar Wilde, the English writer, poet and playwright defines theatre or drama as - “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

AHA! - ‘an expression of wonder, excitement and fulfillment that has no language barrier’ is the ambitious Children’s Theatre program launched by Rangashankara - a lively example of dedication and passion for theatre in Bengaluru. Envisioned by actor-director, late Shankar Nag and realized by the late actor-director’s wife Arundhati Nag.

On July 11th 2011, my long cherished and continually postponed dream to watch a performance at Rangashankara in Bengaluru was fulfilled by a dear friend !It was a 60 minutes Indo-Korean Children’s Theatre production co-commissioned by Inko Centre and Theatre Centre Seoul - Heungbu, Nolbu.

The energy, synchronization and enacting was flawless and perfect! The drama had everything - dialogues, dancing, singing and acrobatics too.
Heungbu – Nolbu is the story of two brothers. Heungbu is good and kind and willing to share what he has. Nolbu, is his opposite: mean minded and miserly. They are watched over by goblins that find the mean minded brother’s behavior completely despicable and decide to punish him, even while they reward the kindhearted brother. The play is based on a Korean folk tale which echoes in every culture.

The Indo-Korean troupe of children was specially chosen and trained for this production. The play premiered in Korea recently and won critical praise. The Director Kevin Kim paints Korea on stage – resplendent traditional costumes, musical instruments and the very Korean way of perfection!

Around 20 children performed to an enthralled audience for a standing ovation. The energy, synchronization and enacting was flawless and perfect! The drama had everything - dialogues, dancing, singing and acrobatics too. The Indian and the Korean child artists were coached separately in their respective countries and the synchronizing with each other was done in 5 days! This explains the potential children are gifted with. This was a tip of an iceberg, there are many more such experimental treasures in the pipeline at Rangashankara.

A famous quote by an unknown comes to mind, which is a just definition of the barrier free universal child - “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he/she is someone today.”