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For a little more space, please

ROMESH CHANDER

Anant's workshop production "Thodi Jagah Do Bhai", mounted at New Delhi's Habitat Centre, was a memorable presentation for children.


our intention was to compare the perceptions of space between children's groups ASHISH GHOSH



SOME SPACE A scene from the play "Thodi Jagah Do Bhai".

In the last 16 years Anant has played a significant role in the development of children's theatre in Delhi and what is more its productions and work schedule are devised for specific age groups keeping in mind the participants' social background. Its major focus has been on sensitising young people on issues concerning economically and socially disadvantaged children and to respond creatively to their needs.

This past week Anant presented two workshop productions with space as its theme at India Habitat Centre - "Thodi Jagah Do Bhai" directed by Ashish Ghosh and Ashok Roy with children from middle class families living in Chittaranjan Park. Though the theme of the two plays was the same, the treatment was totally different keeping in mind the cast's background and its perception.

When queries as to why space was selected as the theme of the presentation, Dr. Ashish Ghosh, the project supervisor told this critic that Anant had been planning for some time to hold a series of workshops on space and initiate a pilot project during the summer vacation.

In Malaysia

"In the meantime, Asian Youth Artsmall, a Malaysia-based organisation for promotion of children and youth theatre, selected Anant and the theme for documentation and presentation at an international conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur in December 2005. Since, then, things got connected. Xansa, an IT company in Noida wanted us to do a theatre workshop with the students of Harola Government School which they have adopted for betterment of teaching-learning situation. They accepted our idea of conducting a theatre workshop on space. Since our intention was to compare the perceptions of space between groups of children, we decided to keep the same theme for our other workshop at Chitaranjan Park with children from middle class. Thus were born the two plays. The two workshop were documented and are now being analysed."

Needless to say that the entire gamut of experience could not be captured in the plays.

But we certainly get a comparative view of children's perception of space as available to them in real life in two different locations and contrasting background. The common concern emerging out of the two plays is that children seek personal space both for need and wish fulfilment. Then again the two plays provide an interesting comparative view of children's perceptions of space at two different locations and contrasting background while providing immense entertainment to children bring home to us that every child wants a personal space even if for most it is a make-believe. This is a memorable presentation for children and more so for parents. Before it is too late, one hopes ways and means will be found to repeat the show.

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