It is very easy to review a play which has had a house-full audience, which was cheered to the echo, and was obviously enjoyed to the hilt by every child in the audience!
"Tale of Haruk", a Korean fairy tale, staged by TUIDA, a Korean performance group (that aims to be nature-friendly in play-making) was brought to the Bangalore children by way of Ranga Shankara’s AHA! initiative to provide theatre for children, supported by Britannia.
The production used puppetry, some amount of sleight of hand, a set of musical instruments that are recycled from items of ordinary use,and a talented cast of eight members, who take on multiple roles through the course of the play.
The tale deals with an old couple, who, after more than fifty years of prayer to the Spirit of the Tree (while engaged in the husband’s reading the same newspaper, and the wife’s knitting and unravelling the same clothes) are blessed with a baby, Haruk. ..
the proviso being that the baby (with a toad-like face and pendulous eyes!) be fed only dew.
However, soon Haruk asks for rice and finally his parents give in…
and he rapidly grows larger and stronger….
and his parents, in an act of unconditional love, offer themselves as food…and find that within Haruk’s insides, life goes on as usual!
The small bits of magic and the dialogues (which were in Korean, with subtitles on screens on either side of the stage) had the children roaring with glee from the very beginning, and the production values were lavish and very satisfying. However, it was apparent that Haruk’s appearance and the sudden spurts of growth seemed to be scaring some of the children in the audience! "It’s so scary!" were words I heard often, piped in childish tones, above the music.
In spite of this, though the ending had everyone cheering, and the various special effects were much appreciated…and they were very well executed, indeed. The cast were given a standing ovation at the end, and they, too, made a dramatic exit at the end!
All in all, a delightful evening for the children who, as Aru said, were lucky enough to come for the show..how I wish there had been another show of this Korean performance group!