Karadi Tales and Evam unite to present a unique musical that celebrates rhymes from the Panchatantra
We cut our baby teeth on rhymes like Humpty Dumpty and Ring a Roses. But how about getting back to our roots, asks Shobha Viswanath, the publishing director of Karadi Tales, a publishing house for children. In the business for 16 years, she wants children to celebrate India and Once Upon a Bak-Bak Tree, a musical, is her way of getting started. “Most of the English rhymes targeted Britain and how it was ruled by The Queen. Most of them are not appropriate for children in India. For example, when Jack fell down and broke his ‘crown’ they were talking about the King. We wanted to introduce a musical that will talk about Indian concepts. There will be three stories and five rhymes in the musical,” says the sprightly Viswanath. Once Upon a Bak-Bak Tree will be produced along with Evam theatre group, and Chinmaya Heritage Mission, on Children’s Day.
A mixed bag
“Karadi Rhymes came to us with the idea, and I loved that it is a children’s musical. I get to focus on the audiovisual aspect of it a lot. We’ve always wanted to work on a children’s project, and with Children’s Day around the corner, we thought we should give it a shot,” says Bhargav Ramakrishnan, the director of the play. The theme of the musical is friendship, he says, adding, “The story revolves around a lonely boy who meets a magical tree that takes him to the woods to see how animals with a predator-prey relationship such as lions and mice bond.” The idea, he offers, is to get the audience to learn about friendship and harmony, to not judge people on their appearance, what they wear or how they eat. “We narrowed it down from 50 stories in the Panchata-ntra books,” says the director.
Expect stories of bravery, loyalty and friendship featuring the crocodile and the monkey or the lion and the mouse.“I want children to learn about mangoes and kites because that is what India is all about. Iamwo-rking towards adding these rhymes into the NCERT syllabus as well,” says Viswanath. The cast includes five characters, aged 18 to 30. The event also sees singer Usha Uthup, known for her Karadi Tales background, pitching in. “She had originally sung the rhymes for the musical in the background, but we thought live music would add to the wonder of the whole play,” concludes Ramakrishnan.
At Chinmaya Heritage Centre, on November 14, from 7 pm onwards. Tickets `200 onwards. Details: bookmyshow.com