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Mirabai - A Children's Theatrical Classic

Ranjani Saigal

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Mirabai – the musical a two hour long children’s play in English chronicling the life of Mirabai, one of India’s famous poet-saints whose bhajans (songs) are famous throughout the world, was presented at the Keefe Technical High School on Nov 22, 2008. The play was the brainchild of Dr. Meena Sundaram and was directed by Dr. Ram Ramakrishnan. The stage sets for the play was provided by Alankar Decors.

The event was a fundraiser for Udavum Karangal , an organization with the sole objective of serving people in distress who are orphans & destitutes.   The Boston chapter headed by Geetha , her husband Kannan , her sister Sudha and Sudha’s husband Balasuryan  is dedicated to the cause and has been holding annual fundraisers for many years. 

“This was a concept that was in my mind for a while. Finally I decided to write the script and actually produce the play” said Meena Sundaram. The play used child actors who under the direction of Ram Ramakrishnan did an absolutely amazing job. 

The play opens with Mira’s childhood life where she is the beloved of her grandpa Rao Dudaji.  A talented child she was trained like most Rajasthani Princess in the art of singing dancing and the household chores.  The dynasty was devoted to Vishnu. A turning point in Mira’s life occurs when there is a wedding in the family. Mira is just a child when she asks her mother innocently about who her own husband would be. Her mother laughingly tells her that Lord Krishna is her husband to be. Mira takes these words seriously and worships Lord Krishna.  Mira later gets married and unfortunately becomes a widow. But her life circumstances never change her devotion to Krishna. She continues to sing His praises and is revered as a Saint by leading poets of her time including Goswami Tulasidas.  Emperor Akbar is supposed to have been impressed with her singing talent. She later leaves the palace and becomes a wanderer visiting holy places and singing the praise of Krishna. It is said that in the end she merged with Krishna.

It was amazing to see how well the children adapted to their parts. No mistakes were made and each child came to the microphone and spoke loudly and clearly. The American upbringing of the children was often reflected in the way they expressed themselves and that added a wonderful touch of humor to the play.  The singing was marvelous as were the dances.  It was amusing to watch a tiny tot as the royal priest blessing Mira and referring to her as “Bahu”.

Meena brilliantly broke up the Mira role into several parts so that the children were not overwhelmed with the lines they needed to remember. The costumes were beautiful and sets were magnificent. Everything was done in a perfect manner.  Watching the beautifully adorned Krishna lift the widowed Mira draped in white and shower her with love brought a tear to the eye.
Costume, Choreography, Sets, Direction and music were perfect. This presentation will certainly go down as a children’s classic and be remembered for a long time to come. Kudos to the team for making this happen!

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