All about the Play

Montessori believes in “following the child” across all age groups. In the initial years of Bodhana, we had tried putting children infront of audience and have realized that some children were ready for that while some were very reluctant. That was a learning for us, and from then on, we have always protected that sense in the child to be freely performing among their friends and aunties in their class but not a stage.
But the same children as they got into their elementary are ready for any challenge. They look forward for all new avenues to explore and we have been having children perform play or dancing or singing in elementary for last 2 years. But this year is something new and very special. A learning way for us as well our children.
As the Christmas season started (Dec 2018), we recollected the play children displayed in the previous year. We considered giving them a good story for the play for this year. It all started with a small thought. We arrived at a story after thoughtful considerations. We took it to the children and narrated the story as it is. Children were thrilled the moment they were told of the option of putting it as play. We narrated the story again and this time it helped children make up their minds about their choice of role. And there started a new journey for us. Children nominated themselves for their choice of role. When we have many children opting for the same role, we suggested having an audition. After having clear idea of what it means, children jumped into serious preparation towards it. They had 2 days with the dialogues to appear for audition. It was a delight to see our children in each corner of the class enacting their role to themselves during their practice time. We were little concerned about how to handle the situation as we have to choose the actors for every role. But to our surprise all the children self-judged and were easily taking up the roles that they got after the audition. We felt the positive competitive spirit in every child and their sportive nature to handle the situation.
Having crossed the first hurdle, we then wished to give them a proper experience of a production. Right from making props, back drop, arrangements, ticketing and costumes. Children got into committees and started putting in their thoughts to get the best out of their team. Am talking about my 6 to 9 years who came up with a beautiful perspective back drop, little props like rabbit tail to bird’s claws, decided to have two shows for parents, they sold the tickets and settled the account in the office. Costumes discussion went into a fundamental needs lesson on dressing, while there was a long discussion about how the royal family would have dressed up in cold countries in those days.
Rehearsals went on for a week while they tested their aunties patience to their best. 😊 As they are great helpers we often mistake them to be grown-ups but ofcourse, we have to tell it to ourselves that they are still children.
On the day before the play, the entire crew got into clearing up the class room for stage arrangement. They had their final rehearsal on stage with our primary children as audience. They seem to be quite cool and we were unsure on how things are going to turn up the next day.
On the day of the play, our ticketing team very diligently stood at the gate on duty. Absolutely no tension about their dialogues they have to narrate just few mins later. (It is worth a mention as we have always seen people flipping through pages at the last minute). Infact, couple of parents missed to bring their tickets and our children were reluctant to allow them in. After they agreed to submit the tickets the next day, they were allowed. Our 8 years are so strict you see😊
As the play started, we saw everyone seamlessly playing their part to their best. No chaos, no prompting, no hesitations in any child. Narrators were looking so confident and strong with their script. Choir for the carols at its best. Special Effects on music behind the screen worth a mention here. Wow! It appeared as if they were waiting for a stage and a proper audience to bring their best. We saw few parents in tears at the end of the play is their testimonial. Our children rocked! Really proud of them.
Once the 2 shows are over, they got into clearing their classroom, cleaning the walls and putting back their materials in place. Ohh…this is like a complete contribution from them.
I now understood the courage in my elementary aunties to take up any work as they always say “We have our children. Don’t worry. We will do it”. They are such team players.
The play – “Pine in the Palace” was such a holistic experience for all of us I would say!

Play

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