Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Contrasts

On Friday morning was the school annual day. The monster was initially going for a small (non-speaking) role involving wearing a sari but then she said she did not want to do it and the teacher said that was fine as she was anyway in a crowd with others. So we went and sat in the audience and watched. The school being a fine one for upholding ‘Indian Culture’ – whatever that might mean, the entire annual day was based on a mythological theme. Each segment was in a different language – English, Tamizh, Hindi and Sanskrit being represented. In a way it was interesting but mostly I was amazed at the kids in the choir. The individual instrumentalists were really very good, despite being so young.

On Saturday we went to ‘Mamma Mia!’ – a live musical interpretation. It was advertised everywhere and the tickets were not that pricey so a bunch of us went. Unfortunately they were not pricey for a reason. We were way up in the bleachers and could not see any of the background videos that were played. The dancing team, well, danced, and while not into our hearts or anything like that, it was fun to just sing along anyway.

Thus I was transported from AshokaVana directly to a Greek Island. From invocations in a dead language to a couple of Brits cursing on the boat. From cute kids with gangly arms in saffron robes mouthing long dialogues to adults in fluorescent body suits gyrating to Voulez Vouz.

Aha.

Unfortunately, in my head there was Meryl Streep and Pierce Bosnan on the one hand; and an idea, just an idea, that rather than ‘put up a show’ based on strict parameters and stories, if children are given a free hand (and not made to memorize lines in Old Tamizh) at being creative, we would all enjoy it better.

Or maybe I am just an old crusty dame.

6 comments:

choxbox said...

sanskrit? whoa. just the other day we were talking about whether or not sanskrit is spoken anywhere any more. apparently there is a whole village somewhere in karnataka that does.

and, how about this - the kids write their own plays and then enact it by themselves. no costumes, no mikes, no make-up. just lots of fun. tell the school no?

kbpm said...

chox, some people claim children like the store bought costumes. you think?
(& please, sanskrit. i learnt it in youth - from a relative of ours, it was OK, i dont think its a big deal, people take it to score marks in 10th standard, i disapprove strongly but am under all sorts of flak for it).

choxbox said...

oh yeah we had it in junior college (ie pre-madras). since our 12th exams were kindly postponed off till may, i was mugging rama ramo rameya etc two days before JEE.

wordjunkie said...

I feel your pain about school performances too - if only they were given free rein. Also what's with this obsession with unreal costumes and group dance(at the Imp's school, anyway)

@Chox: My dad can still curse and sing obscene ditties in sanskrit. A whole village of people as crazy - oh dear.

maidinmalaysia said...

there's this reasonably big fuss here to encourage the locals to speak in thamizh.

with the show titled "yenga thamil, iniya thamil"

kbpm said...

chox- i have mercifully forgotten all that i learnt, back in IV std.
WJ- i think parents demand it.
MIM- bhesh bhesh.