Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Sound Of Music!

A few months ago when I was at the children's school,(I am usually found there,either in the library or volunteering wherever help is needed!),I happened to see colourful posters put up everywhere.They were announcing auditions for the cast and crew for a play based on the beloved musical 'The Sound Of Music'. I was terribly excited and urged my daughter to go for the audition.After all she had won a 'best actress' award at a summer camp in Pune a few years ago!And since I put up with her histrionics on a daily basis ,I know first hand how good she is!
She was not convinced and she said the von Trapp children were blonde!I was equally insistent that no where was it written that they had to continue to be blonde,the school certainly did not say so and there was no harm in trying!But she was adamant in her refusal and so I had to be content with waiting for the play to be showcased,instead of being a 'Drama Mamma'.That's how mothers of cast and crew are termed here!
Finally the sale of the tickets for the play was announced and I managed to secure four precious tickets!For those of us who grew up in the Pune of the sixties,seventies,eighties and nineties,the 1965 movie'The Sound Of Music'starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer,was an integral part of our lives!My earliest memories are of watching this movie with my mother and sister at one of Pune's oldest cinema halls.This,of course,was ages before the advent of multiplexes.All schools offering a propah British education also ensured that the songs from this movie formed the core of our music education.So we always had each song right at the tips of our tongues and a cassette to sing along with or just listen to!Compact discs,of course were not even invented then!
Our mothers never had to entertain us at any family reunion as all of us cousins used to commandeer a room for ourselves and immediately start enacting our favourite scenes from the movie!A basket with a handle was brought out,a satchel was unearthed from somewhere,a dusty carpet bag found,and there was cut throat competition for the role of Maria!Finally we had to take turns to be her.We used to wish hard that our mothers would,one day,make dresses out of the same curtain cloth for all of us!In fact when the school mailed us asking for props to be used in the play,I regretted not being in India!I,single handed,could have supplied all of them,old bicycle included!Fortunately,I have not accumulated that much junk in Nairobi yet!
Though I have watched the movie umpteen number of times,(my mother recently bought us the DVD the minute it was released in the market),I had never seen the play!Ironically it was the play by Rodgers and Hammerstein based on Maria von Trapp's book,that became a hit first!So I was very eager for this new experience and it surpassed my wildest expectations!I could not believe we were watching school children!They were amazing and the entire effort was so well coordinated that,patriotic Indian and as true to my beautiful blue passport that I am,I realized why Hollywood is so many many notches above Bollywood!The live orchestra,which consisted of children playing all the instruments made each note come alive.Every change of scene ensured that they played the music of the song that had been sung in the previous scene!They were so good that I could not believe if I was watching the play or the movie!All those familiar dialogues were effortlessly spouted,the curtain cloth dresses were enchanting and the music and drama department had cast each student so perfectly that there was no jarring note anywhere,pun intended,since all those high pitched songs were sung live for us!The art department had painted the scenes so well that it was easy to imagine we were in an Austrian villa of the Second World War era!It was a treat,indeed!I cannot even begin to fathom the hours and hours of practice the children and the staff had put in.
By the time the von Trapps fled Austria,I am sure there wasn't a dry eye in the jam packed hall.They deserved every bit of the standing ovation they got!The hills in Nairobi were alive with the sound of music that night and I hope these songs are sung for the next thousand years. The movie and now the play remains at the top of my list of a 'few of my favourite things'!


  1. so beautifully expressed - by the time one reaches - 'the hills of nairobi..." there wont be a dry eye reading it.

    1. Thank you Smiley for the lovely compliment!So glad you liked it!

  2. a definite favorite in our house too!!!

  3. Yes,I guess this still tops most charts!


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