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    18 stories and a cast of 50 see Crea-Shakthi translating the writer’s magical realism into an engaging play

    This January, Crea-Shakthi tipped their hats to Ruskin Bond, the Mussoorie-based writer who’s been engaging children’s imaginations for decades, with their play, Bonding with Ruskin. Houseful shows and requests for more soon prompted the theatre group to plan the second edition. And this time, they are going bigger. With around 50 actors (chosen from their Spotlight Initiative—a 45-day rigorous workshop to turn amateur theatre artistes into professionals) and 18 short stories, the performance is being staged in two volumes this weekend.
    “Ruskin Bond paints vivid pictures with his words and since his stories are very easy to connect with—for people across all age groups—we zeroed in on him,” says Dushyanth Gunashekar, one of the co-founders of the group. How did they go about choosing just 18 stories from the writer’s vast repertory? “The entire Crea-Shakthi team put forward their favourite Bond stories and we selected the best 18, including Uncle Ken on the Job and Overcoat,” he smiles.
    While the sets and props are being designed in-house, they have roped in four musicians from KM Conservatory to compose original tracks and perform live on stage. But the biggest challenge they faced was coordinating the actors. “This is the first time we’ve brought so many on board for a play,” explains Gunashekar, adding that they translated the writer’s magical realism by using devised theatre, a form of improvisational theatre that gives space for the actors to experiment.
    At the Museum Theatre today (7.30 pm) and tomorrow (3 pm). `200 to `500. Details: in.bookmyshow.com
    —Aishwarya Valliappan

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