Review published in Deccan Herald on 5th February, 2014
Theatre enthusiasts, both children and grown-ups, were in for a treat when the play, “The Forest”, was staged recently at Nayana Rangamandira.
The play, originally written as a book by Puja Goyal 15 years ago, was adapted into a theatre piece two years ago.
The fantasy play, which is being staged for the second time, required the audience to suspend themselves from reality. It also carried an important message that of saving the planet. About the play, Puja Goyal said, “The play is an attempt to initiate a discussion among children about the preservation of environment and respect for nature. While the format of the previous edition of the play followed the story-telling style”, this edition included new action sequences, dances and fantasy characters.
“This time we explored acrobatics with children and contemporary dancing. But honestly, in some ways, it was easier working with the children than the adults”, said Puja, adding, “Of course there were also a group of children, who lacked imagination thanks to technology. But with the nine months of practice that has gone into the play, they have come out much better.”
Pointing out to adult artistes, Puja said, “There were many areas that they had to work on. For instance, their fitness and stamina levels needed improvement. And since the play requires them to have a good imagination, getting back the child-like innocence in the adults was a huge challenge.”
Tushar Patil, who made his debut as director with this play said, “Getting the adults into the character was a tough job. But the effort has been worthwhile especially when we heard from the audience that the message we were trying to send across through the play was loud and clear. But even among the adults, there were a couple of them, who were questioning the imaginative storyline.”
There was mixed response from the audience. “They’ve come down from Chennai just to watch this play since I am acquainted to one of the artistes. My expectations are high and I am sure that the team would have come up with something good” said Ratna, a member of the audience. Priya, mother of a six-year old, said,”Although I liked the message that they wished to convey, I feel that it could have been done better. It started off well but we didn’t find it that gripping.”