Popaii steals young hearts with humour, dance

C. Harini, a Class X student from the Madras Seva Sadan Higher Secondary Home for Children, laughed heartily, watching the antics of narrator Chief Imbakku, Timbak2 and Shaman Mumbakuuu — the characters of pantomime Popaii in Hawaii — on Friday.

She was one of over 300 children from economically weaker sections of society who got the opportunity to enjoy the 25th Christmas pantomime of The Little Theatre, being held between December 13 and 18 at the Egmore Museum Theatre.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was hilarious, and seeing it, I felt the urge to act along with those on stage,” said Ms. Harini, who is looking forward to the event next year. Unlike the adults, who were glued to the seats enjoying the show, the children rose to their feet and cheered, as the characters danced and sang.

The pantomime is set in 1920. The actors, using humour, music and dance, enacted the story of the hero, Popaii, returning home to Hawaii to meet his childhood love Olive.

The audience enjoyed the rib-tickling 90 minutes to find out if Popaii would meet Olive and prevent the ‘Heart of the Ocean’ — responsible for keeping the earth in one piece — from falling into the wrong hands.

Nandita Krishnan, correspondent, Vidyodaya Girls Higher Secondary School, a government-aided institution, said 100 of their students witnessed the show on Friday.

“They enjoyed it thoroughly, as the show also focusses on saving the environment. They are first-generation students, and it is seldom that they get to see such pantomimes. It was so nice of Aysha Rau, founder of The Little Theatre, to invite our children,” she said.

Creative therapy

Ms. Rau, in her introduction, said proceeds from this year’s pantomime would go towards developing The Little Theatre’s creative therapy sessions in hospitals, to help patients recover faster.

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