We’ve heard the stories several times before, yet the tales of Tenali Rama almost always elicit laughs, squeals and giggles. Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT) will stage Tales of Tenali Rama, based on stories surrounding the 16th century Vijayanagara king Sri Krishnadevaraya’s most famous minister, over the coming fortnight.
It’s planning a number of shows, targeted at both adults and children. And despite the familiarity of the stories, both the directors—Aliyeh Rizvi and Sridhar Ramanathan—are confident that few media can compare with the energy of a live performance.
“We heard it being told by our grandmothers, we’ve read the books and more recently even seen the animated version, yet the telling of these stories still has more room to be twisted depending on the tools we have at hand,” says Rizvi, who also wrote the play.
Every summer, the BLT organizes a theatre workshop during which it works on a new production. This time, the result is a play with six Tenali stories strung together in a common narrative. In a reversal of roles, Rizvi and Ramanathan make the courtiers hold the play together with their scheming and plotting.
“We were conscious of the fact that the language should be understood by both adults and children, and the kids who dropped in during the rehearsals seemed very comfortable with the language,” says Rizvi, adding that the play itself has around 10 children.
Told in non-linear fashion, Tales of Tenali Rama aims at keeping the audience guessing. “The challenge is like watching a movie after reading a book. It is almost never as good,” says Rizvi, explaining why they chose to make the viewers stretch their imagination.
Apart from morning shows for schoolchildren, there will be shows for the public on 26-29 August at Guru Nanak Bhavan, and on 1, 2 and 3 September at Ranga Shankara. For details and tickets, call 9886370614.