We started on a Monday morning with a group of young kids who were perfect strangers to each other, yet once we got the ball rolling, the students caught on magically and opened up to each other.
On the 17th of May 2015, The Yuva Ekta Foundation shared with the world its production as a part of the Kahani Festival, ‘The Boy Who was Afraid to Sleep’. It was a delightful little narrative about a boy who loves to live in a world of dreams. As happens with all happy stories, the boy loses his imaginary friend to a monster (an Octopus in our case) and decides never to sleep as he is scared to enter the world of imagination again. A Boy who loves sleeping hasn’t slept for nine months, three weeks and two days only to wait for a genie, who helps him overcome all his fears to make him happy, cheerful and sleepy again so that he can dare to dream.
It was a joyous experience watching this performance. For one thing, it made us enter into a magical world where anything was possible. The characters were able to successfully connect with the little ones in the audience whose innocent laughter and comments reminded us of the childhood we all dearly miss. But most importantly, this performance was a reminder to all of us that we should never give up on our dreams. Imagination is the biggest tool we have for it gives us the power to be a visionary.
The performance was followed by a workshop in which people of all ages, old and young participated. Everyone was asked to draw a character/person/figure who they imagined to be their friend. Three groups were divided and each individual shared their unique characters and stories to connect with each other and make one big story which was performed in front of everyone. Whether one was young or old didn’t matter. What mattered was that people were able to connect with each other through their ideas, expressions and stories.
We are extremely grateful to Teamwork Arts Pvt. Ltd. for helping us manage the venue and make it show-worthy. We would also like to thank One World College of Music for giving us the space and time to make this event possible. The Yuva Ekta Foundation will continue to strive and create a network of young people and minds who believe in the power of dreams!
- Rijul Kataria has a Masters in Sociology from JNU and is deeply interested in incorporating theatre in research. He’s an ex Yuva Ekta participant turned facilitator and is currently working with the Yuva Ekta Foundation
We performed our Yuva Ekta play for this year, “Garv hai – Mai Aurat hoon” at Springdales school, Pusa Road and New Era School Mayapuri on the 19th of August.
Starting on a chaotic, rainy Monday morning on Pusa Road, we performed with a much smaller group this time owing to exam time in a few schools, but with double the energy.
We performed in front of a whole batch of 11th graders , who responded really well to the performance, and also added some interesting insight to what we could add. One of the students asked us why we hadn’t incorporated something on homosexuality of we were dealing with gender issues, to which we promised we would work on something. This went beyond our assumption that homosexuality would be too intense a topic for school students to comprehend.
After Springdales, we went to New Era school in Mayapuri, where we met a completely different bunch of 11th graders. While the play was received well, we felt the students were slightly inhibited in the beginning about speaking up, but with time, we had some very intriguing questions. One boy asked us if one should get involved in something that isn’t really their problem, and in turn get into trouble for it. While we scrambled to articulate politely that everything eventually is our business, one of the students very emphatically responded that one can’t not fight out of the fear of getting attacked, you fight if you have courage. Some of the girls also asked us what they should do if someone is letching at them, while some others asked us if raising a voice isn’t just a way to give them license to do something worse. We had an hour long interactive discussion with the students and we were very satisfied with the response the play had sparked off in the students.
We hope to be able to perform the play at many more schools as soon as exam season subsides. If you want us to perform at your school, leave us a comment and we shall get back!