Written by Deepali
The D day had arrived. It was the day when Alia and I were scheduled to present a workshop on Puppetry in the Dada Vaidya College of Teaching in Ponda.
We prepared ourselves and set off on a cloudy afternoon with butterflies in our stomachs and reached our destination in no time. We rushed three floors up with our bags of books and puppets and materials. There were twenty five eager and enthusiastic but shy trainee preschool teachers waiting for us. We entered the class and straightaway got down to business and got everybody to make a circle and play an icebreaker game to introduce ourselves to each other. We could see the layers of shyness slowly getting peeled off and the eagerness taking precedence. We spoke about books and Bookworm (but obviously!!) and story read louds and usage of puppets to make the stories and the characters come alive.
Alia brought the rainy and dull afternoon to life with her story and character building and voice throwing and body movement exercises. We could now see the trainees getting excited and raring to go. They were given books to go through. An electrifying story read aloud with the help of sound effects and an entire puppet theatre and the students were buzzing to start making puppets of their own. A small demonstration was provided in puppet making using cost effective and everyday waste materials. The magic box was opened and all kinds of materials was exposed to the eye right from paper plates, cups, tissue paper, newspaper, old bangles, woolen strings, satin ribbons, chart paper, foam bits, colored craft paper, clay, colors, rubber bands, brown paper bags and what not. The students had to make groups and make a two minute story and puppets to go. And the clock started ticking. Everyone huddled up together and started whispering, arguing, discussing, writing up a story and making puppets. And I took the liberty of shouting out the countdown …..And the performers were ready with their characters. The theatre was at their disposal and each group performed a short story brought alive with the help of their newly made puppets. Lovely performances consider the pressure, yours truly put on them
The session wound up with group pictures and lots of laughter. And we were on our way to Panjim again, happy with the thoughts that the new batch of preschool teachers will carry forth the magic of puppets and stories in their own magical ways.