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An interactive play for kids

A play that neither teaches, nor entertains but rather engages — schoolchildren from the city enjoyed an afternoon of theatre followed by a workshop conducted by a Mumbai-based repertory recently.

This was Gillo Theatre Repertory’s second time in the city. “My drama is interactive. It seeks to enrich a child’s imagination and bring out his sensibilities,” said Shaili Sathyu, the founder-director of Gillo. “The idea of integrating a workshop after our performances was started in Bangalore a few months ago.”

Gillo conducts drama workshops for schoolchildren in Mumbai besides hosting Saturday drama clubs.

The Calcutta event, held in association with Think Arts, had the spacious garden of a private house on Lee Road as its venue. The actors staged a play titled Mister Jeejeebhoy And The Birds — the story of a brother and sister who visit their old aunt in Dimlivilli.

The house turns out to be spooky and soon the kids realise they have some special powers that others don’t have. The kids finally use these special powers to help Mr Jeejeebhoy get back his pets — a group of scared birds that had flown from their cage and lost their way.

The play was a happy one full of songs and interaction with the audience. “Now I want to take part in a play,” said Shivesh Poddar, a Class IV student of La Martiniere for Boys.

Before the start of the play, the actors introduced themselves or rather “made friends with the kids”. Soon the children were clapping to produce the sound of rain and telling the actors their favourite birds.

The play over, the children were engaged in activities that made them use their imagination. “The children were told to elaborate how they would react inside a spooky house and in various spaces. We tried to encourage expression and creativity in them,” Sathyu said.

Antara Dasgupta, a student of Class VI, loved the experience. “I have watched many plays in Calcutta and in other places. This is the first time I was part of a theatre workshop. I loved the way the actors interacted with the crowd and how creatively they told us the story,” she said.