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Jenie Christbol Alex

By Nilima Sinha, Devika Rangachari, Nita Berry and Girija Rani Asthana
Year 2014, pp. 88, Rs. 99.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

The play Children of the Magic Pen is an AWIC (Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children) production collectively written by the authors was completed under the guidance of Feisal Alkazi, the eminent theatre personality. This play was conceptualized and performed as part of a three day Conference on Children’s Libraries: Building a Book Culture. The play depicts the meaningful quest and the journey in itself as its major narrative for both the readers and the characters. When we read the play, we are not just introduced to myriad characters across time and space, but we also see them come alive and relive once again in our memories. The play thematically explores the importance of a library, the act of reading, and the challenges involved in reading. Some of the lines of the play leave an everlasting imprint on young readers and the audience. Interestingly, the ‘author’ plays an important character role who invites the reader’s thought and imagination going back and forth between the narrative and the meta narrative. The play invokes the timeless eternal characters from the classics and contemporary literature and reminds the readers of their genesis. There is a constant play of intertextuality that adds humour, fantasy and adventure to the play. Further, it attempts to blur the boundaries of genre and different literary cultures. The major characters are chosen from the classics of India, the famous Monkey and the Crocodile story from the Panchatantra to Feluda, the detective fictional character created by Satyajit Ray. The other characters are from the Arabian Tales, the street smart clever Aladdin, the Witch from Hansel and Gretel, Long John Silver from Treasure Island, Mary Poppins, the eponymous character. We also have the Queen of Hearts and the Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Then we have the friendly robot R2D2 from the movie Star Wars, the wise Owl from the Harry Potter series and lastly the Prince of Persia from the world of computer games. The script of the play has been carefully selected keeping in mind children’s literature. However, such language and dialogue delivery can only be expected from the advanced learners. The appropriate age group for the play can be between 9–13 years. It also depends upon the literacy levels and the amount of exposure to the above mentioned classics. A play is best constructed when it is performed. The play explores various theatrical techniques ...

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