KATHMANDU, Feb 16: All through the week, children from schools across the Valley decided on a favorite spot. Some were there as participants, some came to cheer their friends while the others just to relish the theatre.
The Children’s Theatre Festival organized by the Shailee Group that began from February 15 had a total of 10 productions to be staged. The participating colleges not only acted out but also conceptualized and directed their plays.
Kripa Karki, a grade nine student at the Meridian International School, said watching a play was ‘so exciting.’ She shared that the experience was unique and enjoyable. “I hope there were more events like these,” she expressed.
The festival on its final day, Thursday, will award the Chekhov Utkrista Nirdeshan Puraskar, the Rajiv Dawadi Utkrista Abhinaya Puraskar, and the Balkoseli Utkrista Natak Puraskar, and each of the winners will receive a cash prize of Rs 5,000.
Below, we share moments with three among the participants, who through their aura charmed those present at the event.
As he read out a letter to his grandfather, the audiences cried. Saurav Dhakal, 14, enacted ‘Vanka,’ the central character of the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s short story of the same name and managed to get the audiences in tears.
His performance embodied so much compassion that the auditorium was filled with emotion.
A grade eight student at St. Paul International School, New Baneshwar, Kathmandu, Saurav recalls how he would mimic heroes and other artists he saw on television.
Then, around a year ago when his school announced its annual day celebrations and that students could perform anything they wanted, he decided to direct a play.
“Mosquito is my directorial debut,” he giggles. The play was liked by all, and most importantly, his mother who later contacted the Shailee Thater through a mutual friend referring his son.
“I’ve learnt a lot at Shailee, and feel proud to be part of the group,” he exclaims. Talking about how for being a member of the organizing committee he would not qualify for the ongoing competition although having to perform the play five times, he shares, “For me, it’s more about participation and practice. I have to become the best actor in the country.”
This theatre aficionado adores the Indian actress Priety Zinta for her liveliness and idolizes actor Sunil Shetty because “he’s a macho man and that’s how heroes are supposed to be. They have to free the society of evils.”
Little Snabu is only nine years of age but she manages her homework, drama practice and the preparation for an upcoming dance reality show as a daily routine.
She completely stole the show when she performed at the theater fest representing the Valley View English School in their play “Kitabbhitra, Kitabbahira.”
The play dealt with a young boy and his passion for theatre and Snabu had only a small part to perform as the central character’s little sister.
In whatever little she did, the audience and the judges saw in her a special gift.
“It’s like she was born to act, she’s magical,” shared Keshab Shrestha in the audience. Her father, Shankar Neupane, agreed.
He says his little princess garners applauses wherever she performs.
“She would start dancing to any music she heard,” he shares. “I let her join a dance troop and she was doing well.”
It came as a surprise to him when one day last year, she came home form school and asked him if she could participate in a drama festival.
It was Shailee Theater’s second children’s fest. She participated and was awarded the second position which encouraged her further. “I’ve learnt so much about the technicalities of stage but acting for me comes naturally,” she smiles.
On the second day, the play “Banduk” by the Achel Natya Samuha garnered immense attention. Their play examined the effects of the country’s social and political situation on child psychology.
Written and directed by Ajit Aryal, the story is of a lower middle class family and their struggle to manage day to day life. The son of the family, a preteen, decides to take up a gun and kill everyone, including his landlord and his math teacher, who trouble him or his family members.
Rupesh Magar, 12, and a grade five student at Akash Ganga School in Kumarigal Mitra Park, Chabahil, played the central character. His role and the acting skills he displayed received huge applause.
Rupesh, a local of Bhojpur, lives with his mom in Kathmandu. He says he goes to school so that he can become an engineer and practices theatre to become Govinda, the Indian actor!
It was his friend who informed him about the Achel Natya Samuha and he joined in only a few months ago. “Banduk” was his first theater performance.
Asked how it felt on stage, he replied with a giggle, “It felt amazing but I flunked a few lines. I promise to do better next time.”