The 'On-Stage' Flair
In current times, when it is a challenge for children to be able to maintain any source of extra curricular activities in order to survive in the academic competition, the students of the Middle Section of Sunnydale School celebrated the school's silver jubilee by performing Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" on stage at the Bangladesh National Museum.
It was a two day celebration starting on October 15, 2011 and ending on October 16, 2011. "What Sunnydale school and its students have done is something we, in Bangladesh, could emulate. We have seen quality on stage and I wish this could be spread through the length and breadth of Bangladesh," said Syed Margub Murshed, the chief guest at the end of the programme.
Courtesy: Sunnydale School
The performance of the students was enthralling. Starting from the acting of the students, to stage decoration, chorus and the lighting, everything combined together to create an exciting ambience. The audience embarked on the journey to Wonderland with Alice and experienced the emotions felt by her during all her adventures. The splash of vibrant colours every time a character plopped on the stage as well as the colourful stage decoration combined with the blend of modern music and dance was a visual treat. The drama started off in a very innovative manner and ended with the students introducing all the cast and crew involved in the staging of "Alice in Wonderland." The Chairman of Sunnydale School, Dr Tanvir Ahmed Khan when invited on stage, created a very homely environment by interacting with the performers.
"This is an experience I should remember even at an age when memory begins to fail," said Syed Margub Murshed after the overwhelming performance of the students of Sunnydale School. The acting and the dialogue of all the performers were so realistic that the audience experienced every emotion, starting from the Alice's curiosity with the White Rabbit, the confusion that she felt when she had to face the eccentricities of the Mad Hatter and his mates to the antics of Tweedledee and Tweedledum. "The children could easily act out their parts as they do regular drama classes at school as it is part of their extra curricular activity. And the fact that their pronunciation was immaculate despite English being their second language, is because, their academic medium is English," said Mitul Rahman, Coordinator of the drama and also drama teacher at Sunnydale School.
"We have introduced drama specifically in the extra curricular activity of our school as it not only builds up the confidence level of the children but also enables them to have more constructive verbal exchange. Not all the students get the chance to perform on stage and by doing regular drama classes, they are learning not only how to express themselves but also about drama itself," said Zeenat Afroza, the Vice Principal of Sunnydale school.
It was evident that the children enjoyed the characters they played. "I enjoyed every bit of my journey in performing the role of Alice. It was an honour for me to be able to perform in front of so many people. Their appreciation meant a lot to me and it will always be a memorable event for me and I am ready to work harder to make up for the classes I have missed," said Fariha Fairoz, who played the role of Alice in the drama.
"In this age it is not enough to just obtain good grades but participation in some form of extra curricular activity is also necessary. Not only for admission in good universities, but also for being selected for a decent job," said Kazi Toufikul Islam Emon, the director of this drama. "Drama builds a person's character very strongly as it makes him express himself without any hesitation in front of a lot of people and the children who performed in 'Alice in Wonderland' will now be more confident in their approach," he further explained.
Everything from the very beginning till the end of the drama including the anchoring was done by the students. "The sole reason we chose to stage a drama and more specifically 'Alice in Wonderland' is because it would mean the involvement of a huge number of students. Sunnydale believes in participation of all. Furthermore, there is a morale behind every drama and although I don't expect my students to understand them now, I am sure in the future they will be able to reflect back on this performance and understand the morale behind it. As they played an active role in this drama they will be able to relate to it as well," said Tazeen Ahmed ,the Principal of Sunnydale School.
Children today are so engrossed in keeping up with the cut-throat competition of always excelling in their studies, that learning is not fun anymore. If such steps are taken by schools to make learning enjoyable for children, they will have a healthy growth both physically and intellectually. With the cooperation of the guardians of the students, the teachers, the students and the management, it is possible for the schools to make an important contribution to the development of Bangladesh.