Friday, April 4, 2014

Dance Drama and Dumbos

14 years in a school. Growing up. Toddlers to young teenage beauties. Learning - everything. Reading, writing, cramming, singing, dancing, acting, enjoying. Yes, I have done it all. Just like you.Out of the many exposures in school life, I loved a few of them. Reading, writing, and dramatics. I never got an opportunity to work on any of these. But you know what your heart says, right?

My first memories of dramatics at school date back to 1988. I was in grade 4. STS organized a dance drama – “save the forest, save the world”. Atleast 200 kids participated in the dance drama. I played the role of a poor and hungry farmer. Mr Pendarkar, our dance teacher, and a few of our teachers, directed the whole 2 hour show. It was performed in the night, under colorful flash lights. The big old beautiful stage (around 400 sqm)  was not enough. Two side stages were erected. The school was white-washed, fresh graffiti was painted on the side walls of the school lawns. The dance drama was a super duper success. My mum had the role to play as well – she was the makeup artist for class 4-A.

The next big thing was “Indorella” – a Barry John dance drama. Year 1992. 6 months of preparation – casting, planning, storyboarding, setting. It used to be a total chaos. Total success. Barry John and his professionalism clearly reflected in the show. Indorella was about women of today. What a women is, and what she can be. Those were the times when the young generation was rising for the gender equality. Due to shortage of space, this show was held at the Air Force Auditorium in Subroto Park, New Delhi.

The senior school stage, where Mahatma Gandhi used to meditate

Year 1995/ 1996 – we celebrated our school’s 60th birth anniversary – the diamond jubilee. Along with the year long celebrations – scholastic, and others, we also had another Barry John show. God forbid my memory, I do not recall the name of the show. It was against the oppression of poor, and oppression of women, with focus on the eastern part of India. I played the role of a zamindar (maybe my built did not fit me in the female roles). It included recitation of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s verses, amongst other poets. This show was held in our new auditorium. We were so proud of it. It was built for the school’s 60th birthday, a much needed audi.

Every year, we had Christmas plays. Every year. Christ was born in the artificially created manger. One of the beautiful girls’ used to be the guardian angel. We had the three kings travelling from the east, carrying gifts for little lord Jesus. My participation used to be mandatory, less because I used to act well, more because I was sincere in my practice and attending the sessions.

Along with these events, we had morning special assemblies every Tuesday. Every section got its turn. The class had to take a topic and act+sing+dance+recite in order to get the message forward. It could be “being kind to others”, “respecting elders” etc etc. The assemblies could be based on the festivals as well. For example, if holi was approaching, the theme could be holi, and then enact the whole Holika and Prahlad scene, sing songs and play colors.

If all this was less, our teachers used to set up wonderful show at teacher’s day. I remember, once, our school principal, enacted a madari (the man who runs monkey shows) scene. I decipher the hidden meaning now. ;)

I think I can write a full novel on St Thomas’.

On a different note, in grade 9, (year 1994) Mrs Avinash Kaur Sareen, yes, our very on Avinash Kaur, from DoorDarshan, was my physics teacher. She was a science teacher in St Thomas’. Her spectacles, stern looks, red lipstick lips, top knot, and lovely sarees made her one of the strict teachers of STS.  Not even a single student was spared. For Mrs Sareen, all of us were – DUMBOS. 

This post is dedicated to the A-to-Z blogging challenge - the largest Blog Challenge in the history of Blogkind. My selected theme is "memories of St. Thomas' "- my Alma mater. This is the fourth post of the challenge, and is linked to the letter D - D for Dramatics and Dumbos.
Linking this post to UBC too.