Small Wonders

Small Wonders

Meet the Barabhais,a family of 15 including father,mother,an aunt and 12 children who are always upto some mischief.

For the children,by the children and of the children,theatre is putting kids’ summer vacations to good use

Meet the Barabhais,a family of 15 including father,mother,an aunt and 12 children who are always upto some mischief. No,they are not the new family on the block of family entertainment serials,neither are they a melodramatic cast of a new movie. They are a bunch of five to 15-year-olds featuring in Cheaper by the Dozen,a Hindi theatrical adaptation of the biographical novel of the same name by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr and Emestine Gilbreth Carey,performed entirely by children,.

Putting their school vacations to good use,the children signed up for theatre classes which resulted in productions that are now entertaining their peers.

“In today’s day and age,people hardly have the time to listen to stories. It is through theatre workshops such as these that you can get children to listen and even participate in enacting these stories. This participation inculcates good moral values in them as they connect deeply with the topic of the play,” says Abhijeet Choudhary,director of Cheaper by the Dozen. The play will be staged at MES Auditorium,Bal Shikshan Campus,Mayur Colony,on May 16,6.30 pm.


Chinmaye Bori,the director of April fool,another children’s play,agrees and points out that it is up to the parents to push their children into indulging in creative activities during their vacations,instead of sitting in front of the “idiot box”. “Theatre is a wonderful thing to be a part of,whether you are acting or just watching as an audience. It builds character and personality,even if one doesn’t pursue it as a career. Plays that are written and performed for children are a much better form of entertainment than online video games that are awfully violent,or social networking sites that are a waste of time,” says Bori. His play will be staged at Yashwantrao Chavhan Auditorium on May 17 as part of a Children’s theatre festival organised by Natya Sanskar Kala Academy,which is on from May 16 to 18.

When the cast features only children,the process of rehearsals takes a fun and interesting turn. Directors use games and activities that to keep the children engaged while teaching them to express dialogues in a variety of emotions,adapt their body language according to varying situations in the script and shed stage fright. “Children are very smart. Once,I gave my cast a theme and asked them to perform impromptu. They amazed me with the logical performances they gave and we got ourselves another story to enact on stage,” says Ketar Athawale,director of children’s plays such as Manyachi Hunny Bunny,Udi re udi Patang and Dev Bindu that will be staged on the last day of the Children’s theater festival.

He advises that children should be involved in every stage. From deciding costumes,to timing and even the script,he prefers to consider the word of the children as he feels they understand the perspective of the audience,which is of their age group,in a better way.

“Child actors do not have preconceived notions like adults. They are open to learning new things,which makes all of them director’s actors. But we have to choose our words very carefully

when we criticize them. They may not react to negativity at that time when you scold them for something,but it can

hamper their creative skills and make them go into a shell,” says Athawale,who hosts acting workshops for children during vacations at Balranjan Kendra near Nal Stop.