Making a Little Difference

Director Zubin Mehta was particularly occupied last month. From deciding the sets to the scripts, costumes, dialogues and rehearsals, he looked into every little detail of "Parwaaz", Wings Theatre Academy's first children's theatre festival, involving young actors from 12 schools in the city in the age group of five to 17.

"It's an ambitious project," smiles Mehta, who works hard both on and off the stage, making sure that his actors experience the joy of giving it their best shot. The four-day festival, that began on November 1 at St Kabir School and comprises three plays, is a long-cherished dream of Mehta, who wants to introduce more children to the joys of theatre —exposing them to various facets of the stage. "Many feel that I make my actors rehearse for long hours and push them to be involved in varied aspects, but I make sure that while creating a professional production, they never stop having fun. The responsibility of working in a team, creating everything from scratch and doing their best gives them both confidence and joy,'' says Mehta, as he goes on to share the line-up which boasts of plays that are both sensitive and entertaining. This includes Charlie's Dream, which has been developed and scripted by children, and drives home the point that power and greed go hand-in-hand. The story revolves around a young boy, Charlie, who transports us into another world through his dream sequence.

Another production, Harun da aur Baadshah, is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray's On the Run with Fotikch and centres around Jai, who has been picked up by four kidnappers and loses his memory. The third play in the festival is JB Priestly's Mother's Day, which reveals the plight of a mother whose rights and contribution to the household are not recognised. "We have made no compromises, and with this festival the aim is to take children's theatre to another level,'' says the proud director.

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