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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Act together

Darshan Naik experienced something quite similar to this,during his first attempt at conducting a theatre and drama workshop for the children of the Shivaji Nagar Remand Home.

Written by Garima Mishra |
February 22, 2010 3:04:19 am

Drama is something people go through everyday. Change of character is nothing more than mood swings.
Kewana Bagby

Darshan Naik experienced something quite similar to this,during his first attempt at conducting a theatre and drama workshop for the children of the Shivaji Nagar Remand Home. “My perception about human behaviour has undergone a complete change after I met and worked with these children,” says the 29-year-old Naik,who had been organising acting workshops at Shivaji Nagar Remand Home,every summer,since 2008.

When he approached the remand home authorities with his initiative,he says,he was welcomed with open arms. “They are very open to anything new which is aimed at bringing a positive change in the kids. However,their hands are tied due to financial constraints,” says Naik.

A teaching professional,working at Symbiosis International School,Naik has studied at the Centre for Performing Arts,Pune. Although he has been in the field of teaching theatre and drama since a long period,but for dealing with the kids at the remand home,he had to mould his usual way of imparting acting skills. “In the first year,I was given 28 children in the age group of 13-17 years,who were supposedly the most difficult ones and were at the home on charges of offences like rape and murder. Initially,most of them looked angst-ridden,restless and took some time to open up,” he says.

So,instead of going ahead with teaching actual theatre skills,to break the ice,Naik incorporated group activities,music and games like soccer. Gradually,the children developed a bond amongst themselves and with Naik too. That’s also when the children started narrating their stories to him as to why they were there. “A lot of them had disturbed pasts,a drunkard father or an abusive relative. One thing was common in all the children; none of them had anyone in their life,who would listen to what exactly they feel,” he adds.

Interestingly,children also confided in Naik with their complaints against the remand home authorities,which he put across to the officials. He explains,“Since my role was that of a catalyst,I got to understand point of view of both the parties,it helped me in bridging the gap between the two.”

During the workshop,the play in which all the children participated was called Mee Abhimanyu. Conceptualised by the kids at the centre,the play was based on the life of a child from his home to a remand home and thereafter. The play was later performed in front of the remand home officials and was appreciated by everyone.

In the year 2009,Naik conducted theatre workshop with 20 children of the remand home,most of whom were involved in theft cases. He confesses that over the month-long workshop,he does develop an emotional bond with the children. But as they say,all good things must come to an end,so as the summer sets in,Naik eagerly waits to meet his new bunch of students at the remand home.

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