School students witness the magic of Shakespeare

Chennai
27 Oct 2017

Vivid colours and splendid performances sprinkled with entrancing music and choreography captivated 1,800 students from over 20 schools in the city, leaving them spellbound with the musical pantomime of 'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare. 'The Tempest' was performed for the first time in the city today by students of Helen O' Grady International India Edu Drama Academy, a developmental drama school. The pantomime, directed by renowned mime artist K Paintal, is the first professional production of Helen O Grady and has been performed in various cities across India since its inception in 2013.
The non-verbal play captured the audience's interest with elegant choreography and enthralling music. Varied emotions played across the actors faces which had the audience engrossed and excited. Another highlight of the pantomime was the colour play, depicting the mood of the scenario. "The magical land of Shakespeare has been feared by many because of the big words and verses, but in reality the plot is simple with a lot of human emotions such as anger, love, etc. We wanted children to love and understand Shakespeare, so we decided to convey the story through mime which was a huge challenge," said Archana Dange, Head and Master Franchisee, Tamil Nadu, Helen O'Grady International India Edu Drama Academy.
Akshay Jha, who played an important role in the play, said that the beauty of mime lies in the fact that it can convey a lengthy monologue spanning two minutes in just four actions. "The audience are extremely intelligent for they read between the lines, understanding the mood through our expressions and actions. This is a major reason why mimes engage the audience throughout," he further said. 15-year old S Swathi,who had witnessed the pantomime,was in awe of the musical. She said, "I didn't realise time go by. The show had me spellbound with its music and choreography."
Speaking about Helen O' Grady, Archana said that the organisation offers programmes in developmental drama, which focuses on the process of theatre and not just the performance. She said that developmental drama gives children the confidence to voice their opinions and also imbibes in them the need to show empathy.(PTI)