Today Mashi Theatre enchanted and amused Robert Mellors Primary School with a short introduction to Akbar and Birbal. This wasn’t a fully rehearsed piece, script in hand, a couple of scarves to signify character, however the children were so taken in by the characters that when it came to finding out what they knew/thought about them and the story they couldn’t stop talking, even the usually quiet ones.
We found out even more about Birbal and Akbar as the children asked them questions e. g
Akbar what do you do when people make you sad?
If they have done something wrong, and that is often why people make me sad, I punish them. In many ways it amuses me.
By the time it came to creating their own work from shorter stories, they were up on their feet and although some were tentative, they all shared three still images.
The games really helped to build their confidence and focus, exploring the servant and king relationship and also more focussed concentrated exercises saw them becoming somewhat of an ensemble, quite magical for primary school year 5’s.
Each group approached extending the tableaus into scenes differently, from the beginnings of movement ideas to text. As they developed their scenes modern references began to creep in; mobile phones and theft of wallets, which supports the relevance of the themes in these ancient stories in today’s context.
A highlight of the day was making the Ragisthani puppets (Kathputli puppets). Each child made a puppet and took it on a parade through the space, moving to music that evoked a real sense of occasion.