Every Soul Is Unique was a co-creative musical play that Thamarai children were invited to perform at Cripa with others from Auroville and surrounding areas in January. Fakeera, the creator, was moved to use the interplay of art, personal healing and spontaneous expression in a manner that would be a joyful opportunity for the children’s growth, using the medium of performing arts to reflect their accomplishments back to the children. Savithri, the project lead for this activity, wrote the following report and happily said “ This event was a major contribution to the children’s confidence and self-esteem. Children have the experience that they can achieve great things if they really want to”. Student Sandhiya said just after the performance “I am very happy and I will never forget this day, because everyone is equal in performing.”
In early November 2022, the Edayanchavadi children were delighted to accept Yolane, Mahima and Preena’s invitation to take part in this production. The central idea was that children, with the support and guidance of the facilitators, decide the theme of a play, compose the dialogue and songs, practise weekly and eventually perform in the Cripa performance. Over the next two months, the children worked on the themes and towards the performance.
They chose two themes: gender equality and shame. Gender equality with regard to stereotypes (“girls should not play football, boys should not cook”, etc.). The children questioned and challenged these stereotypes. The other play was about how we all feel shame, how it affects us, and how we can let it go when we remember we are all equal.
The program was portrayed in the form of a train with 10 carriages, each carriage had one play and the 1st and 7th carriages carried the Thamarai children.
Volunteers (Yolane, Mahima, Prena) worked for 3 months with the children to bring out their hidden talents. The children supported each other and learned many things including their curiosity, expression, teamwork, and cooperation. Most of all they enjoyed what they were doing. They learned English in a new creative way through dialogues, pronunciation, and expressing through acting. They pushed themselves and overcame their difficulties in learning dialogues. They also learned how to use body language and facial expressions while observing the performance of other students and to perform in front of 100s of people even when they were quite nervous.
It was great to see our children mingling with Auroville children. They had a new experience and enjoyed being with children from widely different backgrounds and nationalities. The Thamarai children and Auroville children got a much greater appreciation of each other and found many areas where they are similar.
Quotes from Children:
Jeevika: I enjoyed mixing with Auroville students and having snacks with them.
Jeevana: I liked to speak in English with other children. I love drama.
Jogan: I was weak in performing drama before. But practising and performing helped me to improve.
Sandhiya: I am very happy and I will never forget this day, because everyone is equal in performing the dramas.
Subastri: I practised for many days. This made me happy. I also enjoyed travelling for practice and performing.
Vinothini: After doing the drama I don’t have stage fear. I liked doing this play with Auroville children. I made many friends. I learned many songs. Everyone acknowledged me. It was a great opportunity and I did not want to waste it.
This event was a great boost in confidence and self-esteem. We all realised that we can achieve great things if we really want to. Spoken English improved and children overcame fear and difficulties. There was much self-motivation and teamwork. It was hard work but the joy we got from the final performance was wonderful. Parents felt very proud to see their children perform in public in such a great way. We all learned so much teamwork, commitment, motivation and to support each other. The Thamarai value of “full potential” was experienced as a team.