Now what happens with people who have never ever seen?
Children who have never known or experienced visual scrutiny? Individuals who don’t realize, that they’re being constantly watched, because they themselves have never experienced “learning by seeing”??
Individuals who deserve as much social acceptance, as Anybody else, but who in fact face twice the isolation: A, because they’re blind, and B, because they show socially inappropriate behavior?
Of course, not all blind children face this predicament; a lot of us have the good fortune of being taught social etiquette either at home, or at school. But not everyone is privileged in that regard. Social grooming is a bit lower on the priority list, particularly when, even satisfying basic needs is a daily challenge. Exactly such, was the story of the children of the Surdas netrheen vidyalay, Runkata, Agra, when Antar Drishti came to their rescue.
Personality Development of Visually Impaired through Theatre
The original plan, was to organize a theatre-workshop for these children, which would ultimately culminate into a public show, where blind children could experience the thrill of on-stage acting. Upon meeting the children face-to-face however, it was realized that what the children needed to learn, to begin with, was not to do with presentation on-stage, but off it, in the real, non-fictional portrayal, of themselves. What they really needed, was training in basic social skills, personality development, and self-representation, skills that would help them create a niche for themselves.
So, Antar Drishti immediately knew what to do: they combined the two objectives, and using the elements of theatre, introduced the children to the real world. The world where one must stand still and up-right, without swaying from side-to-side, or scratching, or picking. The real world, with real-time performances, that will help them build and develop their own characters, strong, confident, and most importantly, socially acceptable.
Workshops for Personality Development of Visually Impaired through Theatre
As part of the dual-purpose workshop, the children were made to reflect and work on their own personalities, by way of telling stories, and participating in team-based games that helped them enhance their personal awareness, along-side social skills, leader-ship qualities, and effective communication.
Antar Drishti has organized two such workshops thus far, and both have been extremely rewarding, enabling these children to build themselves as influential characters, both off-stage and on it.
It was an illuminating experience for Antar Drishti too, it had never struck them how much they take their sight for granted, and how different their worlds could be, without visual feedback. Most importantly, combining both goals into a single learning experience, was one of their most gratifying and productive endeavors, and they hope to continue spreading this valuable insight.
Play “Bechara nahi Samjhana” Theatre Workshop Personality Development of Visually Impaired through Theatre
Play “Abe Andha hai kya” Theatre Workshop Personality Development of Visually Impaired through Theatre
Role of Theatre
The role of theatre then, is to inculcate discipline. Self-restraint. And to give us just the one chance, to always live in the moment, and deliver our best performance on stage, such that we linger in the minds of our audiences for the longest time. And in the case of these children, mastering theatre-crafts helped them achieve this, even off-stage. In the play, that Shakespeare calls ‘life’.