But going to Mind Tree School, at least during this month, was not the usual affair. We were working here for one month; designing, coordinating and directing the school's annual day celebrations - engaging a little short of 500 students of all ages armed with limitless questions(!!).
Purple Mangoes had been working with Mind Tree School in the earlier months by running activity clubs on theatre, environment, storytelling and poetry, photography and heritage with classes 6th to 10th. There was to be an exhibition displaying the work done by the students of these clubs. And after the exhibition, the audience would enjoy the performance of the play, Haroun and the sea of stories, based from Salman Rushdie's novel of the same name. The plan was to invite the audience into a world of stories, full of wonder and play
The production team had some 5-6 street smart kids of different classes, who, unfortunately, understood very early the power that came with being "production". Still these kids got the bigger picture and were very eager to work. They sat in at every script reading, every briefing, every casting, ran around the whole school, fetching students, delivering messages, photocopying scripts and making lists. Making lists. They were the 'list gurus', in charge of making sure every students gets a role to play in the whole celebration. Their 'lists' carried the name of every child, class wise, and what they were to do. By the end of the month they had memorised every kid's name.
And then came the day we had been preparing for a month. The entrance was an installation designed by the school's art teacher. People passed through curtains of flow-y cloth, giving the illusion of a sea. And as they came out, the whole world transformed into a land of origami birds and flowers and creatures made from waste. They were greeted by our ushers, each dressed up as a different fictional character, welcoming them in their own character, helping them make sense of what just hit them! Next, they showed them to the exhibition of the clubs. The exhibition led the way to the huge stage, where the play, Haroun and the sea of stories was staged, with all its live music, dances and a fantastic story. Gyandev from Delhi illuminated the stage with his wonderful light design and Jasmeet Shan from Chandigarh choreographed the beautiful dances in the play.
And this is why going to school, in this month of October wasn't a usual affair. As soon as this sleepy team entered the doors of the school, a wave of energy gushing through the corridors of the school hit us, bringing an instant bounce in our step. We could hear this distinct buzz of excitement and creativity throughout the school.
How often does one get to go to school like this?