a theatrical production with participants from Worli Koliwada
Produced by G5A in partnership with IDFC FIRST Bank for Project Swachh Worli Koliwada, this unusual and pioneering effort was the first creative collaboration between G5A and Aarambh Mumbai, featuring talented young participants, children and youth from Worli Koliwada as well as professional actors and technicians.
A musical fantastical journey through Gutterland and its peculiar characters, Utterly Gutterly Atrocious (UGA) is a delightful, witty spin on the classic tale of the hare and the tortoise for children and young adults. Through its dynamic and unexpected sub plots and its many twists and turns, the play satirizes and challenges our attitudes towards waste, class and caste in a crazy, funny, bright, engaging and zany way.
In December 2018, we invited the theatre company Aarambh Mumbai to conduct introductory theatre workshops with children, youth and women from Worli Koliwada. The aim of this workshop was to enable access to the arts for the community, and to create a safe space for introspection and discovery. Interested participants, 13 children and 6 youth, were then invited to contribute to a fresh production of “Utterly Gutterly Atrocious” (written and directed by Purva Naresh of Aarambh Mumbai), while simultaneously exploring the basics of theatre, storytelling, staging and creative expression.
From sourcing waste material, to making their own props and costumes, to acting, singing and dancing in this musical, this process not only helped build confidence and initiate a journey of discovery amongst the young people, but it also gave them the opportunity to be a part of a professionally mounted theatrical production.
More than 400 community members attended the premier show of the play at Ratnadeep Krida Mandal in Worli Koliwada on February 23, 2019. It received an equally encouraging response at the G5A Black Box in March 2019 – 2 shows over the weekend were attended by around 150 audiences, parents and their children primarily.
“On the first day, we started with theatre games, but slowly and steadily we were introduced to the play Utterly Gutterly Atrocious that we were to perform at Koliwada and at G5A. This was going to be with professional actors and it was really exciting to be a part of something like this. Through this play, we learnt about the labour class, struggles, the caste differences, and the concept of privilege. In terms of techniques, we also learnt about eye contact, gestures, behavior, improvisation to be used in theatre. We are so confident now that we can participate in any other play with absolute ease. In fact, we now realize how theatre is integral to life and not just an extracurricular activity that we participated in, in college.”
– Sahil, UGA participant
“I got dignity and respect here, one that I have never experienced otherwise.”
– Shashi, UGA participant
“We were slightly worried about the kids missing their class and tuitions. When I would return home in the night, my wife would tell me that Nelson and Joy have gone for practice. I was not fully aware that this is the scale of the show they were working on. But after watching it today, I really liked it. In the future, because of this show and this performance, our kids will be encouraged to participate in more such activities.”
– Jacob Maithrie, community audience
“I think as adults our job doesn’t really entail giving children answers. Our job is to help them ask the right questions. So, I’m really looking forward to the hour we’ll spend going back home because I’m sure my child has questions – you know like, “what was this?” “then why did this happen” “why did the male tortoise leave and the female come in?” and I’m not sure if I’m capable to answer all the questions that she has but I’m delighted that the play will help them at least articulate those questions and make them curious about these subjects. For all of us as adults – it’s our duty to help them ask the right questions.”
– G5A audience member
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