The countdown to Christmas has begun, and in a bid to spread the festive cheer, a new play themed on X’mas and aimed for children aged 3-12, promises to be an entertaining experience. The script was written by Vishaal Asrani and Kaizaad Kotwal, who felt that there wasn’t enough theatre for children. “Mumbai is not very kid-friendly and today most kids pass time at malls. We had also heard stories from parents complaining that most of the plays either talk down to children or contain Bollywood tracks for amusement. We wanted to write something that was innocent yet had value,” says Kaizaad.
The play, titled The Magic Of Christmas tells the story of a girl Alishia who’s ashamed of being poor because she cannot afford to buy her friends gifts. Aside from child actors from Vishaal Asrani’s Institute of Performing Arts, there are also adult actors like Sarosh Nanavaty, Vishaal himself and few others. “We have a double cast with two separate groups of kids performing on alternating weekends. That way we give more actors a chance to perform and avoid setbacks if the children fall ill,” says Vishaal who has done the music and visuals for the production. Adds Kaizaad, “The challenge of working with kids is that they have lots of energy and a vivid imagination so you have to know how to harness the talent they bring.”
Filled with well-known Christmas carols and songs that help the story move along, video clips, different stage backdrops and tonnes of costume changes, the play is high on production. Explaining why they chose to have a X’mas-themed musical, Vishaal says, “Christmas is a universal festival. We want the kids and their families watching to takeaway from this, an understanding of the true spirit of the day — the message of sharing and caring — in a non-preachy manner.”