Kids Corner


A Teacher of Theatre and His God-Given Talent:
Gursharan Singh






Hermann Hesse’ Siddartha enjoyed such a cult status that in the 60s and 70s students in American Universities carried a copy of this novel as if it was the Bible. Over the years, the popularity of this work by the German Nobel laureate hasn’t waned; it has continued to catch attention the world over.

This time around, the students of Dikshant International School, Zirakpur, Punjab -- under the guidance of noted music and theatre teacher Gursharan Singh -- have interpreted the text and are ready to stage the same on Saturday, December 6, 2014, for their 13th Founders Day Celebration!

Siddartha certainly isn’t the easiest text to deal with but having read and known the book in his younger days, just like many of his contemporaries, Gursharan Singh has simplified the novel for stage adaptation.

“When the world has taken such a materialistic turn, Siddartha has never been more relevant than today,” says Mitul Dikshit, the school’s director.

Gursharan Singh has used his understanding of the subject to navigate the students through a creative journey.

“It was a daunting task to begin with. Working on the script time and again and discussions on the same for a month have sure put the children in tune with the text,” shares Gursharan Singh.

Though it’s not possible to bring the whole narrative on stage, the gist is what some 45 students aim at presenting to the audience.

“Right from the beginning of the search for the ultimate truth to the point of nirvana, we carry the journey in one hour stage time,” says Gursharan Singh. Part of the job is achieved by 10-12 narrators that are part of the team.

Music, which is Gursharan Singh’s forte, plays a significant part but it is to support the scene, not to cover it, he insists, having worked with children for the last three decades.

“This has been a long journey and not even once have the children disappointed me,” says Gursharan Singh, who insists on calling himself an educator first and then a man of the theatre.

Was the novel suitable for school students?

“I believe only kids could have done it as professional actors don’t have the innocence to carry something as deep as this,” says Gursharan Singh, who is also the former director, Music and Theatre Department, Doon School, Dehradun.

Delhi, where he is currently based, has a thriving theatre scene, and he is ecstatic about it.

“On any given day you can find a dozen productions being staged in different parts of the city.”

And ask him if he has been keeping a tab on Punjabi theatre and how he sees its future, he clears, “I am not much into it but whatever I have seen has a life and soul in it. And then, who can stop Punjabis to thrive in whatever field Punjabis are in,” smiles the old man with youthful spirit, which is reflects in his blue printed turban and a rust sweater shining in the winter sun, under an immaculately ironed blazer.

From his vast experience, he gives three constants of being successful in any field, including theatre: “One must enjoy what one strives to do; be aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses, and put work before oneself. As in my case, it’s my students who are more important than anything else.”

As for an artiste, he lists only two must-haves: “One must have talent that is God given and find a teacher who can bring it in front of the world, and neither is in one’s hands,” he signs off with an enigmatic smile!

[Courtesy: The Tribune. Edited for]
December 3, 2014

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Gursharan Singh"

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