The storyteller on strings!

For CharuPrasad, 46, founder of Iris Creative Education, puppets and dolls have been a childhood fascination. “I grew up in Delhi and any outing had to be supported by a visit to a doll museum.”

Charu Prasad from Iris Creative Education and Magic Flute

When she moved to moved to Mumbai, puppet learning came with admitting her daughter into Tridha Rudolf Steiner School in Mumbai. “The school follows a human approach to school education for their young children and all learning is via dance, music and theater.” Prasad underwent a year-long module on puppetry and that inspired her to look at puppetry as a medium of story-telling and started Iris Creative Education with her friend Sushma Varma – a software engineer but an artist at heart.

The stories they have chosen are unusual. Be it Mozart’s Magic Flute – which brings in a two- act opera or–  East of the Sun and West of the Moon – which was a Norwegian Fairy Tale. “The idea is to look and bring out works which the kids have not seen before. And will distract them from their screens ofIpads and Iphones!” The only mandate is of course compelling content. “We have largely so far worked with fairytale content with dragons, animals, bears with music and dialogue to make it entertaining for children. We also want to ensure there is a message which registers with the kids unlike a Hindi movie that they forget! But let me tell you, once a puppet is on stage – the kids are captivated!”

The team at Iris Creative Education is showcasing her act on the 25th& 26th of February at Powai Pulse at the Renaissance in Powai. The idea is to draw different audiences towards this age-old art form redone, “The puppets from our childhood – the Rajasthani ones were loud, in a language different from what we are used to and also have not kept pace with the lives we lead today.”

Prasad has attempted to do just that with her work. The protagonists are marionettes — string puppets — without facial features – so as to encourage viewers to use their imagination.The backdrops and puppets are made by her and her team by painting on canvas and using pure silk or cotton cloth respectively.

While NCPA has been a treasured stage to perform, the audience’s feedback is cherished too. “A little girl post the performance came up in our ‘meet the puppets’ segment and kept asking if the bear would not bite. For her, the bear from our performance had become so real! That was extremely heart warming.” Even a performance for the sick and unwell children at the Tata Memorial Hospital was a proud moment. “Usually the kids move and cannot stay still. But here, they stayed with us through the one and a half hour show!”

The true test is however one of her 2 year old! “He watches us perform and sits through the workshops and our prep and experiments, so I know it’s working!” On the anvil is also puppetry that helps teach kids in class 4 to 6 about sex education. “We want to do this so that it’s not boring for them and they can actually understand it without being emabarrased or intimidated!”

The very first edition of the Powai Pulse will be an exceptional shopping experience, and exciting food options and cultural performances; all of it which will transit into a night market and a musical evening. The visitors can look forward to some live music too! The proceeds of two-day event organized by Secure Giving Events will go towards programs supported in the areas of Education, Health and Community Development.

POWAI PULSE

Date: 25th& 26th Feb’ 17
Time: 11 am to 10 pm, Music performances between 6-10pm
Venue:The Terrace at the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet.
Entry:Free
Contact:Secure Giving Events at 022 -65334428

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