18 March, 2017

CREATE (Children’s Research in Education, Arts and Theatre Endowment) Foundation was started in 2002 in the memory of Pearl Padamsee by her daughter Raell Padamsee. Their mission: to provide a forum where children from the entire economic spectrum can discover and express themselves creatively and freely as individuals. To this end, their productions Sound of Music, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mahatma … have brought together children from different NGOs to perform alongside children from the mainstream, thus providing an equal opportunity for all. The latest of these productions in March 2017 was ‘Rediscover the Epic’ directed by renowned Karla Singh, where the Raell’s ACE production attempted to bridge the gap between our ancient values and modernity. Through this endeavor, they aimed to integrate children from various mainstream schools with children from eight NGOs. Four of our school students – Master Sarthak Tiwari (Std. II), Master Yohann Panjuani (Std. III), Master Leon Kothari (Std. IV) and Master Palanssh Rao (Std. V) were fortunate and privileged to be a part of this mega production. We asked these students to share their experiences on the big stage at the iconic Royal Opera House. Here are some excerpts from their articles published on the school website’s STUDENTS’ CORNER-

Palanssh Rao acting as ‘Bal Hanuman’:

On the first day of the rehearsal, I saw kids from 8 different NGOs. I was startled by their talents and they were such wonderful kids. Also there were kids from various schools across Mumbai playing different characters. I got to know of my role,“Bal Hanuman” and I was quite thrilled to bag such an important character. The rehearsal was scheduled once a week and I went after school hours. My school encouraged by permitting me to attend the rehearsals as and when asked for… Thanks to my school, parents, and Ms. Raell Padamsee for encouraging me to be a part of such a grand show!

Leon Kothari in the role of Madhav:

It all began like this….We had an audition in school for the upcoming play Rediscover the epic by the well known Raell Padamsee’s Ace Productions .We all were excited as we had seen their earlier production Mahatma and were very much impressed with it.

Acting has always been my passion. I have played a few roles in school plays. Last year I even played the role of ‘Brigitta’ in the musical ‘Sound of Music’ on our School Annual Day. But, this was way different, it meant actual theatre performance wherein an audience of 800 to 1000 people would be watching us. Still I made up my mind to get through the auditions. After clearing the first round in school, I went for the second round of auditions at Bandra. I felt jittery to see many kids in different get ups and holding props, yet, as soon as I reached the stage, I was my own self and delivered my best. After a month of waiting, my mom got a call from the production house informing that I have been selected for the role of Madhav. I was elated. With this began a journey which took five months to reach its final destination. The rehearsals were amazing, they were an experience in itself as Miss Karla, the director would guide us with our roles, helping with the pronunciation, expression, demeanour etc .My portrayal of Madhav was no different from my actual self, he had to be a sweet and naughty kid of a modern family .The play takes this present day family to the Ramayana world which helps them fight their inner turmoil and demons. Between the practice sessions, we got enough time to interact with each other and so we became friends in no time.

Yohaan Panjuani playing ‘young Ram’:

I was very excited to know I had been chosen to play ‘young Ram’  As my journey continued further, during the rehearsals we got used to being called the ‘smalLies’ – we were the famous five, all the same age and three of us were Boscoites. I made a lot of friends with people I have never ever met before which made the whole process frightening at first, but since it was a little courageous step that my heart had made, learning to get along was not difficult but all the more fun.  It was just amazing to see children like myself, immensely talented in what they were chosen to do. The eye catching fact was that all of these children were differently abled and were from various NGOs, but amazing nevertheless at what they did.

Sarthak Tiwari enacting small Bharat: (as reported by the parent)

My son Sarthak Tiwari studies in Std II at Don Bosco High School, Matunga and he got an opportunity to experience theatre on the big stage thanks to Raell Padamsee’s ACE Production. Sarthak enacted the role of small Bharat. There were daily rehearsals that helped the kids to get to know each other better. This entire drama has made him more confident about himself. Thanks to Don Bosco High School that provides the platform for the students to discover and hone their talent through activities. Sarthak has been a student of one such Activity – Speech and Drama – and surely he owes much to these classes for his excellent performance at the iconic Royal Opera House.