Back of the Book:
The Panchatantra has been a part of Indian folklore for centuries. The delightful tales, with animal characters, not only tell exciting stories but also contain lessons for life. This play binds together five Panchatantra stories in a magical circle of music, dance and fun. The play transports you to an amazing world of a forest where anything can happen and often does!
About the Author:
Kamala Ramchandani-Naharwar is a playwright, novelist, short story writer, journalist and painter. She has an Indian father and Scottish mother and lives in Mumbai. A prolific playwright, her plays have been directed by some of India's most prominent names including Adi Marzban, Feisal Alkazi and Pearl Padamsee. Panchatantra was first written and performed for the Festival of India in America.
Written in Sanskrit by Pt. Vishnu Sharma around 200 B.C. the Panchatantra stories have not only stood the test of time but are also as relevant in today's age. The stories are woven around the basic story of a king, entrusting his three stupid sons to a Brahmin, who promises to transform them into wise men. Right from the moment the Sutradhar introduces the play and the characters-a king and his three stupid sons - the action begins. The king summons a wise Brahmin and requests him to transform his sons into wise men within six months. Following the tradition of tales within a tale, each with a rich message and moral, the play moves to focus on Dimwit and his shrew of a wife. The latter in sheer exasperation drives Dimwit into the forest to learn some wisdom from the animals. As poor Dimwit wanders into the forest, the animals take over, each spelling out a code of conduct for harmonious co-existence, for both animals and human - amongst each other and with nature. There are the brave little rabbits who while offering themselves up as a meal for the lion, already have a trick up their sleeve. As they recount the incident of the lion failing prey to their trick, they tell Dimwit, "we must put an end to the situation or change it", or the frisky monkey who, while maintaining "intelligence is power", makes ample use of it by telling the crocodile that his heart is kept safely up a tree, so they must return to get it.
Kamala Ramchandani-Naharwar's delightful script is a welcome addition to the world of children's theatre scripts in our country. I myself have directed it twice over - the first time with a group of 6 adult actors playing the 36-plus characters of the play, and the second time with a cast of 40 kids ages 7-12. Her firm sense of drama and, more important, what a child enjoys in drama, her witty dialogue and comic characters are appealing to both adult and child audiences. -Feisal Alkazi
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