Seven Ruskin Bond stories woven into a play—for the first time ever
Our elementary school syllabus has ensured a delightful staple of Ruskin Bond favourites, giving stories like Mr Oliver’s Diary, Panther’s Moon and The Blue Umbrella a warm familiarity for many. It is no wonder then that Crea-Shakthi should chose the Mussoorie-based author’s works for the stage adaptation, Bonding with Ruskin, as part of the second edition of their Spotlight Initiative. This is a 45-day rigorous workshop to turn amateur theatre artistes into professionals. “His stories have this element of magical realism. What’s more, they are something everyone can identify with—popular across all ages,” explains the theatre group’s co-founder and director of the play, Dushyanth Gunashekar. However, he is tight-lipped about the stories. “We’re not saying anything. The audience, after watching the play, will have to guess what they are,” he says.
The sets have been designed in-house and the play will also have live music by the KM Conservatory. But for the 15-member team, the biggest challenge was adapting the stories to suit the stage. “We’ve used devised theatre—a form of improvisational theatre—for the first time in a full length play,” explains Gunashekar.
There’s more. The author himself is slated to come down to the city for one of the performances.
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Devising a script
In devised theatre, the script is the product of a collaborative effort by the cast and crew. “This gives us more perspectives—especially for stories like this that are not drama-friendly, but which gives us variety,” says Gunashekar.