From their humble homes and against all odds,a group of young boys in the age group of five to 15 years have been creating music for some years now. In the past,they have played in slums,buses and streets,but this week,Raje,Vishal,Balkrishen,Deba and Subhash,got to showcase their talent on the Tagore Theatre stage in the play Mandir,which was staged as part of the Premchand Theatre Festival.
It was a proud moment for Chakresh Kumar of Alankar Theatre and Sangeeta Vardhan of the NGO Vatsal Chaya,as they watched these children create live music on the stage to give the play a new dimension and tonal quality. Music binds the play and I have used their natural ability for creating varied sounds to set the tone of various scenes and add emotion to it. Its been a fulfilling experience to let theatre help them gain confidence,get out of their shells,expend their energies in a positive manner and also give them a direction in which they want to excel, said Kumar. The participants played the dhol,daphli,chitkani,tumbi and chimta,making it a unique ensemble of sounds. The play addressed cast discrimination and the divide it creates. The songs sung by Bal Krishan and Raje added value to the script. Weve been rehearsing for many weeks now,and have worked together like a real band. Sir gave us the story and some cues,and then let us do our own thing. And yes,when people clap for us,we feel really proud, said Vishal as Deba nodded in agreement.
Theatre is a sustained activity at Vatsal Chaya,a city-based NGO which strives to give children who are deprived a fair chance in life. These children have struggled to be in our educational and vocational program for working street kids. It rekindles my belief that education must be made responsive to the context of the deprived child and a creative enriched curriculum is the right of every child,especially the disadvantaged ones, says Vardhan. The children continue to work every morning and avail the flexible time options to come to school in the afternoon.
Ive been working consistently with the children for over two years,and they have staged plays in national theatre festivals too. The effort is to give them a platform to find their feet on stage and live a life of creative dignity, concluded Kumar.