Water Woes!

Debarati Palit Singh
Thursday, 26 April 2018

Abhishek Kawitkar, director, We the Artists, which is staging two plays on the subject of importance of water, says that there are enough solutions to the problem of water shortage

Water is a big concern not just in villages but in cities too. Every year, more and more cities are reporting acute water shortage. Many are blaming it on global warming but a major part of the problem has to do with the way water is being misused by people. 

Keeping the theme of importance of water, two award-winning plays — Boondh and Yanna Kon Samjavanar are being staged by We The Artists on April 29. 

What makes these plays special is the fact that they will be performed by school children. Boondh stars 22 students of Vikhe Patil Memorial School and is directed by Sheetal Upadhye; while 32 students of Pawar Public School, Nanded City will stage Yanna Kon Samjavanar, which is directed Parag Pandav.

The plays are part of We The Artists’ initiative — A Child’s Play, which is a child-centric platform of expression. “A Child’s Play offers artistic, interactive and enriching theatre experiences for children of all age groups. It showcases childhood and all its dreams with a combination of singing, dancing and acting performances. The thought behind A Child’s Play is to create a platform that allows a child to be a child and helps him/ her connect to their very own wonder world, to dream and visualise, and transport to a creative world.  As a theatre platform, it brings that imaginary world to life on stage,” says Abhishek Kawitkar, director, We the Artists. Every year, they stage around five plays under this initiative.

Explaining why they chose the topic of water, Kawitkar says, “Because it’s summer, we wanted to highlight an important aspect of the season. Heat, temperature and water are currently the topics of discussion. Through the plays, we want people to think, ‘Can we be part of the solution?’. The play is the director’s solution. There are enough solutions to water problems, we want to channelise the awareness into a solution.”

Before staging the plays, says Kawitkar, they assess them, the performers and find out if it fits the Child’s Play criteria. 

‘The ideas came from the children’
Both Sheetal Upadhye and Parag Pandav say that it was the children who added to the concept of the play. “Before starting work on the play, I had a discussion on the subject with the children. They shared incidents from their own homes. “Our parents tell us not to waste water but they continue wasting water’,” says Pandav, who is music teacher at Pawar Public School, Nanded City and also a theatre artist.

“Many children shared incidents that they observed in their day-to-day life. They came up with ideas and then Boondh was created. For instance, a child told me, ‘On several occasions, when my father is shaving and he gets a call, he runs to pick up the phone, leaving the tap open.’ We incorporated such incidents in our play,” says Upadhye.     

Sharing further about their respective plays, Upadhye says that in her play Boondh, everything happens through actions and body language. “Water is a vast subject to show. It’s not as simple as you opening the tap and letting the water flow — we wanted to show how water is abused and overused in cities and villages,” she says. 

She adds that they have personified water and made it into a man. “We have shown how water is angered seeing a man abusing and wasting it and therefore decides to go away. We wanted to alarm people through the play about what will happen if water disappears from the world,” says Upadhye, who is the cultural coordinator of Vikhe Patil Memorial School.

Pandav says that as the title suggests, the question is ‘who will teach them.’ “We have shared the message that elders teach children not to waste water but they themselves end up wasting it.”

He says that they have used music including kirtan and rapping to spread the message to elders. “Within the play, children do kirtan and rapping to make the elders understand. The reason I decided to use music is because it is always in trend and people notice it immediately. Music is a good therapy for children and elders too because they enjoy listening to it.”   

Yanna Kon Samjavnar has won the Best Script Award at the Environmental Theatre Festival 2018. Pandav says that it took him three months to work on the play. “But I took one month to write the play because I was writing for children,” he adds.

Upadhye maintains that it’s their school policy that while working on play, they have to add some value to the subject and the audience has to take away some message. Pandav says that this is the right age to spread a message among children. “They will accept such messages,” he says.    

ST Reader Service 
Catch the plays on April 29 at Vikhe Patil Memorial School Amphitheatre, Patrakar Nagar, off Senapati Bapat Road, 7-8 pm

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