A Play

Necessity is the mother of invention. A proverb that aptly describes the short sequence of events that took place at school towards the end of November in 2015.

The organisation that primarily funded our school had planned a visit on December 1st. To convey our gratitude, it was decided that the students should put up a play demonstrating the importance of the organisation in supporting our school and children's education. Due to a combination of teacher availability and time constraints, the onus to produce and direct the play fell on my shoulders.

While at my first school, I had worked with my children to enact a play on annual day. However, in that case, I had about three weeks to write, plan, cast and rehearse with my children. Furthermore, that play was an adaptation of a textbook lesson that my students were familiar which made the task a lot easier. Having never written a script from scratch, this play required me to be creative which is not my strong suit! I had less than a week to write the play, reach out to students who might play the characters effectively and conduct rehearsals.

Children reading the script and learning their lines.

Practice time!

For the cast, I decided on having three of my students play the roles of 8th standard students who were worried about their future as their school had classes up to 8th standard and the road to further education at the high school level was hazy at best - this is a realistic scenario for students enrolled in government schools in Pune. As the play proceeds, their despair turns into joy when their current principal introduces another school principal (both parts played by two students) along with news of a development from the education board that has permitted the opening of a secondary school in their school building itself. Two students played the role of teachers at the children's current school. Thus, there was a cast of 7 students in all.

The play wound up having four short scenes with a total time of about 8 to 10 minutes. I wrote the play and requested feedback from other teachers on the first two days, gave children the script and we practiced with that for a day followed by 2 days of extended rehearsals after school to get into the nuances of acting. We kept the props to a bare minimum bearing in mind the limitations already outlined.

On December 1st, my children performed the play in front of the school and representatives from the organisation. I was coordinating the stage and transition between scenes so did not click any photographs. Unfortunately, neither did the the other staff members so I guess that this is one of those things in life that managed to escape being digitally documented! All things considered, the play went off well and I was proud of my students who stepped up to the plate when the school needed them.

A photograph with my students after one of the rehearsals. The man on the extreme left is Mr. Pravin Rajguru, one of the teachers at our school and a close friend, who helped out in a few of the rehearsals.