Koseli School is a center for slum and street children situated in Kathmandu, Nepal. These children live outside of the mainstream society. Thus, their biggest need is survival. Koseli means “a gift” and the center offers them a gift of happy childhood and education.
Doing a theatre production would be a life changing experience for all of us at Koseli was something we had no idea about. No matter what we did at the school, we could not really pull up the confidence of the kids. We needed a magic wand and while we looked around for the magic wand, we thought of introducing the kids to theatre workshops. The workshops were fun but nothing more. Then one day, while casually chatting we came up with the idea of doing an actual production.
Right from the beginning we were very clear in our minds that we didn’t want a sad story for our play. We already have enough of those at Koseli. It had to be a comedy with a message. The next day our director Rabindra Singh Baniya brought a story which was a political punch. We loved it in the first go. The auditions were painful. We needed to cast 30 kids in the play and here we had nobody who was even remotely close to any role. First three days into rehearsals and we thought it was an entirely wrong move. Least did we know that the final show was going to prove us all wrong.
Three weeks into practice the children were ready to prove to the world that if given the right opportunity children from any background can perform miracles.
Costumes were a big issue for us. The children were playing characters from everyday life and so they had to wear everyday clothes & shoes. But then most of our kids don’t have everyday clothes and shoes……
On the day of the final performance, two of our actors didn't turn up. They work on weekends to add to their family income, obviously acting in the play wasn't important enough. We searched for them and somehow managed to bring them just in time to "Gurukul" our venue for the day's performance. We then waited with nervous excitement. We had sold approx 500 tickets but were not really sure if people would actually come to watch the play. But then slowly the hall started filling up and the children gave an immaculate performance. The audience laughed, clapped and looked at the children in disbelief.
Jaamun Ko Rukh is an adaptation of a story by Krishna Chander. The play is a political satire reflecting the current socio-political state of the country. On one stormy night a Jaamun (fruit) tree falls crushing a man underneath. The man is still breathing when he sees the caretaker of the garden the following morning and cries for help. As the tree fell in a government office, we can imagine the complications involved in removing the tree and saving the man. The file (to remove the tree) moves from one department to the other, each one shirking its responsibility. Finally, a week later the man succumbs to his injuries. The play is humorous with lots of punches and a profound ending.
Jaamun ko Rukh is not just a success story of a play but a success story of what Koseli team is capable of achieving, a success story of opportunity and a success story of each child who lives in the slums or streets of Kathmandu.
Since then we have done two re runs of the play, one for the UN day celebrations and the other for Himalayan TV anniversary celebrations.
sharing the experience
If you want to invite our children to perform Jaamun ko Rukh at your school or organization, please call us at: +977 9849215533 or simply write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or look for nepalkoseli on facebook and send us a message.