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Vijay Padaki Director, Bangalore Little Theatre

Some time ago a cross section of members of Bangalore Little Theatre, joined by many friends and well-wishers, did an extended exercise to identify the enduring qualities that have characterized the city’s oldest theatre group known affectionately as BLT. Among the many qualities that were listed as most definite, three are worth recalling here: The group’s commitment to its position as Community Theatre. The group’s long record of original plays in its Children’s Theatre programme. The group’s commitment to children in need.

The prestigious annual production of a children’s play is a convergence of four of BLT’s well established programmes – The annual fundraising production for a charity partner (ICS). The annual major production of a children’s play. The annual summer training workshop for newcomers to the theatre.

The programme for new play development. We are very pleased that we have arrived at a creative partnership between BLT and Indian Cancer Society for the specific objective of reaching children with cancer. It is a very unique partnership, not only in the theatre serving as vehicle for fundraising, but also in other forms of awareness creation in schools and children in the critical age groups.

Kishore S Rao Chairman, Indian Cancer Society, Bengaluru

There has been a distinct improvement in awareness of cancer in recent times and Bengaluru has been no exception. While this is true of the urban areas and among the more educated people it is, unfortunately, not present among the semi urban and rural population. When Indian Cancer Society in Karnataka decided a few years ago to revive their activities they followed a well-defined programme of raising awareness, conducting early screening and providing emotional support to patients and families of those who were recently diagnosed with the disease. The awareness and screening activities had a focus on semi urban, slums and rural areas. One of the focus areas chosen by the Bangalore units was to approach and work with and through children as this was a good long term activity. This was not only for the awareness programmes but also for working in support of recently diagnosed younger people. These areas of interest have worked well and I am happy that younger people are involved. Our work along with Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT) has been particularly satisfying and I can sense the same mutual satisfaction among BLT members. It is joint activities like theatre that produce a lot of involvement with the young and it is this working with youth that is going to have a long term effect on prevention of cancer. Thank you BLT for cooperating so readily and fully with the Indian Cancer Society.


Vijay Padaki The Year of the Rooster is derived from a Chinese folk tale called Wang Bao Chuan. It is an original adaptation developed in Bangalore Little Theatre, abridged to suit the needs of the contemporary stage. There is an interesting tale about the play’s arrival on the English theatre scene. In the early part of the twentieth century, George Bernard Shaw wrote an angry and acidic review of two plays, supposedly Chinese, performed in London. They were “imports” from across the Atlantic, and had been great successes there. Shaw lambasted American insensitivity to cultural finesse and termed the plays Chinatown caricatures. The plays were, in fact, not about what China was, but what Americans wanted to see in China. Just a little later a Chinese artist arrived in London to study Shakespeare. He was S I Hsiung. He took it upon himself to introduce the English playgoing public to the real thing – that is a Chinese play, rooted in Chinese literature and culture, and presented as the Chinese would perform it. That play was Lady Precious Stream. Not only did he bring out a fine English language translation of the story for the stage, he included all the working traditions of the Chinese stage into the play script. When the play was taken up for production in London, he took a personal interest in its execution.

The opening shows in 1934 had Hsiung listed as Co-producer. Incidentally, and interestingly for a Bangalore audience, the opening shows were at the Little Theatre in Strand! The production served the major purpose of re-educating the British public. The play is still regarded as a landmark script. BLT acknowledges readily the value of Hsiung’s original notes in the preparation of this adaptation. We might ask: what is so special about the Chinese tradition of presenting a play on stage? There appear to be two main features of the tradition, especially as given to us by Hsiung. First, the staging does away with realism. As the narrator in the play says, “scenery is a thing we have never heard of”. A prop here and a prop there, and the scene is set. More important, the audience is invited to join the artists in the delightful adventure of imagination. This minimalism is quite common in the theatre today, seen in play scripts from many countries. It was ahead of its time for the English speaking audience of that time. Among our own theatre traditions in India, we have a narrator in a Tagore play reminding the audience that “ … the first thing you need to get what you want in life is imagination!” Second, there is a seamless back and forth braiding between narration and acting. In this play, a team of three persons from the “production crew” present the play and are, in fact, very important to the structure and flow of the play. The three are the Reader and two Property Masters. As the Reader says in his introduction, the Property Masters, who are supposed to be unseen by the audience, are taking an active part in the performance.

There is even playful insistence that theirs are the most important parts in the play. “We are not playing the parts of the hero or heroine or the king or the queen or the villain or the village idiot. Anybody can play those parts! We play parts that are far more important.” One might well ask: how is this different from the part of the Sutradhar in traditional Indian drama? If we accept that both are “traditional”, we may find an explanation in the circumstances of performance in ancient times. Perhaps the part of the narratorsutradhar served an important purpose. One obvious purpose is in compression – that is, reducing a long and tiresome tale into a compact – and compelling – telling of the tale. To quote the Reader once again, “You see, in China we can take a very long story and make it as short as necessary. In the West they have the habit of taking a short story and stretching it unnecessarily long.”

Directed by Archana Kariappa Archana Kariappa is passionate theatre artist with over ten years of stage experience under her belt. This year she made her debut as a director with BLT’s director training program. The Year of the Rooster is her second attempt at direction. Outside of the glitz and glamour of stage she dawns the role of a Project Coordinator in a company in Bangalore.

Assisted by Vijay Padaki Vijay Padaki joined BLT in 1960, the year of inception. His first onstage appearance was in 1962. He was goaded into directing a play a year later. Since then he has done everything possible on stage and off stage. He is currently a Trustee, looking mainly into organisation and management needs of BLT.

House music Butterfly Lovers violin concerto by He Zhanhao & Chen Gang

Backstage Team STAGE MANAGER: Nevin Reuben Pearl ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER: Ravi Chari SET DESIGN AND DECOR: Deepak Mote PAINTING: C.Ayyanar PROPERTY: Aruna Nori, Preeti Sukumar, Karan Haritwal,Tarang Beriwala, Santosh Patil COSTUME DESIGN: Shatarupa Bhattacharyya COSTUME TEAM: Minti Jain SOUND & LIGHTS: Murtuza Khetty, Aditye Nair PUBLICITY / COMMUNICATION: Poornima Kannan VISUAL DESIGN: Deepak Mote PLAYBILL DESIGN: Amit Bahirat, Santhosh.R.P. PHOTO CREDITS: Akila Venkat

Cast HIS EXCELLENCY WANG YUN, the Prime Minister Sayan Bandyopadhyay . Naveen Tater MADAM WANG, of the Chen family, his wife Vanitha Rao . Shantheri Mallaya SU, THE DRAGON GENERAL, their eldest son-in-law Karthik Nagarajan . Kaushik Narayan WEI, THE TIGER GENERAL, their second son-in-law Anand Rajamani . Mario Jerome BLUE WATERS, the eldest daughter, Su’s Wife Karuna Chandwani . Arathi Bhat WHITE WATERS, the second daughter, Wei’s wife Chaitra Pallavi . Shatarupa Bhattacharyya STILL WATERS, the third daughter Pooja Dalavi . Swathy Padmanabhan HSIEH PING-KUEI, their gardener Deepak Rao Pawar . Vincent Fernandez HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCESS OF THE WESTERN REGIONS Honey Mehta . Vibhinna Ramdev

Cast READERS & Old General Mu Solomon Paramel . Vijay Sharma PROP MASTERS Abhijit Raghunathan . Minti Jain . Ananya Vhavle . Naveen Aryal ENSEMBLE - A group of versatile actors playing multiple parts PROPERTY MASTERS Abhijit Raghunathan . Ananya Vhavle . Minti Jain . Naveen Aryal ATTENDANTS & MAIDS Arathi Bhat . Amit Bahirat . Karuna Chadwani . Roshan Kate MA TA and KIANG HAI, Aides to the Princess Karan Manveer Singh Dalal . Nevin Reuben Pearl . Parth Sharma . S Venkatesh SUITORS Solomon Paramel . Amit Bahirat . Nevin Reuben . Vijay Sharma . Roshan Kate . Karan Manveer Singh Dalal . Parth Sharma . Venky MU, the old General Solomon Paramel . Vijay Sharma EXECUTIONER Nevin Reuben Pearl HIS EXCELLENCY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS Amit Bahirat . Karan Manveer Singh Dalal

“Who’s Who in the Cast” Abhijit Raghunathan Abhijit Raghunathan is passionate about theatre. He has previously acted in Robi's Garden. If not theater, involved in sport. He is a former State Level Tennis player and Football enthusiast.

Amit Bahirat Forever drawn by the theatre, Amit Bahirat jumped at the chance to perform in Robi’s Garden by Rotary Club of Bangalore. Amit runs a digital marketing agency called Mad Hat Communications.

Anand Rajamani Anand Rajamani involvement with theatre began 2011. He has performed in a few English plays, notably - Maya Bazaar (2016), Malgudi Express (2016), Game Theory (2011). He has dabbled with Improv comedy and singing too. He has provided voice to animated characters for an in production Sanskrit movie.

Ananya Vhavle Ananya Vhavle is a theatre enthusiast; has previously acted in Robi's Garden and Rigmarole. She is also a trained singer and guitarist. On a less serious note, she is a dog-lover, adventure junkie and big-time foodie

Arathi Bhat Arathi Bhat is a homemaker turned theatre enthusiast want to engage herself in creative art who was also part of recently staged play Moliere's Tartuffe as production team.

Chaitra Pallavi Chaitra Pallavi loves art forms and expression. She is an amateur painter and a newbie to the world of 'Theatre', this is her first experience as an actor. She is a Media, Marketing & Communications professional with over 20 years of working experience with big, medium and small corporate companies.

Deepak Rao Pawar Deepak Pawar is a Passionate theater actor. He currently works as Program manager in Bangalore.

Honey Mehta Engineer turned writer, Honey is a Copy Editor at She is a voracious reader and a food critic, recently bitten by the acting bug. She debuted theatre with Robi’s Garden directed by Vijay Padaki, in a Rotary Club Theatre production

Karan Manveer Singh Dalal Karan Manveer Singh Dalal has acted in two theatre productions - the first being "Rhinoceros" directed by Abhishek Sundaravanan and the second "The Prophet and The Poet" directed by Vijay Padaki.

Karthik Nagarajan Karthik Nagarajan is an actor and photographer from Bangalore. He is actively involved in Kannada and English theater and is into Advertising Photography and Cinematography professionally.

Karuna Chandwani A Newbie in the theatre community, this is her first experience as an actor.

Kaushik Narayan Kaushik Narayan's is an avid theatre enthusiast and has been performing in the Bangalore theatre circuit over the last ten years. His first onstage performance with Bangalore Little Theatre was during their French Theatre Festival, earlier this year.

Naveen Aryal Naveen Aryal is from Delhi and working as a IT Professional in Bengaluru. In free time Naveen enjoys playing football. Naveen has done few stage plays before 'The Year of Rooster'. And was a part of back-stage team for 'Frisky SuspendersSPOT 16'.

Naveen Tater Naveen Tater is part of BLT's Managing Committee. An HR practitioner with an educational background in Science and Technology. Currently, involved with BLT's acclaimed production, The Prophet and The Poet.

Nevin Reuben Pearl He has worked with Misfit, Cult Bangalore, Madhats, Bangalore Little Theater (BLT) & Theater on Bengaluru ( TOB). With B LT he has acted in "MAYA BAZAAR" and "SANJUKTA". He will be on stage as well as help out in backstage work with "THE YEAR OF THE ROOSTER". Nevin is currently working as a freelance Mechanical CAD Design Engineer.

Parth Sharma Parth Sharma’s interest in understanding theatre drew him to Bangalore Little Theatre's annual flagship program, SPOT. “The Year of the Rooster” is his first play. He is an Engineer, working with ISRO. He is also a certified Meditation trainer.

Pooja Dalvi Pooja R Dalvi is an overactor by birth! Growing up in Mumbai she always had an allure of acting. After completing her masters, she flew from Mumbai to Bangalore for her profession as a Scientist in a Life Science Multi National and found a way to hone her acting skills with the Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT). She has previously performed in Mumbai and Bangalore in plays like Kukut Vadh, Rules, The Frisky Suspenders and Chow Chow Bath. She is known for her expressive acting and impression skills

Roshan Kate Roshan Kate’s interest in theatre drew him to this play; this is his first performance on stage after school. Roshan works as a startup evangelist at a not-for-profit. He is an avid quizzer and was a national level swimmer.

Sayan Bandyopadhyay Sayan Bandyopadhyay has some experience in theatre during his school and college days; his passion brings him back on stage again. He has been part of SPOT 2017. He is a finance professional, currently working with Lifestyle International Pvt Limited.

Shatarupa Bhattacharyya Shatarupa Bhattacharyya, is a PhD student at the National Institute of advanced studies, Bangalore. She started acting in Hyderabad under the guidance of Dr. Satyabrata Rout, Dr. Sreejith Remanan and Dr. Mohan Maharishi. In 2011 she moved to Bangalore and since then has been active in Bangalore theatre circle as well. Her last two productions were 'Untitled' directed by Shashank Purushotham and 'Emil's Enemies' directed by Vijay Padaki under Bangalore Little Theatre. She has also acted with groups like Barking Dogs Productions, Evam, Aamhi and Art.

Solomon Paramel Solomon Paramel has been a member of "The Bangalore Little Theatre" for many years. He has acted in many plays like Waiting for Lefty, The Birthday party, Mrichakatika - The little clay cart, Robi,s Garden and participated in Theatre Festivals. He is in the business of Construction, Turnkey Interior projects, Furniture, Designer Doors and Plywoods.

Shanteri Mallaya Shantheri is Editor with a leading technology media house. In her free time, she pursues theatre, travel, writing, blogging with as much passion as she does her profession. Shantheri has been actively associated with theatre groups in Bangalore and has done both on-stage and backstage for Kannada and English productions.

Swathy Padmanabhan Swathy Padmanabhan is a marketing professional and a self-proclaimed drama queen. She has taken to the stage for the world to see her perform. Swathy debuted theatre with Robi’s Garden directed by Vijay Padaki, a production from the theater club of the Rotary Club of Bangalore, in association with BLT. The Year of the Rooster will be her first BLT production.

Vanitha Rao Vanitha Rao has been associated with Bangalore Litter Theatre over the last seven years, both on-stage as well as backstage. She has been on stage recently in Moliere’s Tartuffe. She is an Architect by profession and loves travel, food and art.

Vibhinna Ramdev Vibhinna Ramdev is a Bangalore Girl, started out her performance career through Contemporary dance, passed out of Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts. Her first theatre project was with Pawan Kumar, 10 years ago, "Honey Let's Break Up". Her recent theatre performances include "What's Up With Bangalore Women" with Under Dog Entertainment, "Pensato" with Indradhanush theatre, "Between Best Sellers" with Bangalore School of Speech & Drama.

Vijay Sharma Vijay Sharma is a theatre actor and storyteller. He has acted in plays like Moliere’s Bichoo, Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution, Bertolt Brecht’s Schweyk in the Second World War and Douglas Huff’s Emil’s Enemies. He is the Honorary Secretary at the Indian Cancer Society, and a member of the Board of Trustees at Karunashraya (Bangalore Hospice Trust).

Venkatesh S Doesn't know Hiltler from Chaplin, Venky is an unprofessional chump roaming the cellars of the IT world. Otherwise a cinephile, he has worked with BLT as part of the production crew in their previous outings.

Dressing Up! Shatarupa Bhattacharyya A crucial part of a live performance happens behind the scenes, both before a productions mounted and during its run. It takes a lot to give a good performance. Hours upon hours of rehearsal, practising lines, learning blocking and choreography, figuring out how your character walks, talks, and thinks; all of this comes together for those brief moments when you walk the stage to create a fully-fledged character. However, all of the weeks spent preparing and creating will come to nought unless you can bring that character to life on stage. Thus, it would not be wrong to say that performance on stage is directly affected by the time leading up to your first entrance. Preparing for ‘The Year of the Rooster’ was a huge challenge – firstly, it is a Chinese play. Therefore it is crucial to provide the audience as well as the actors the right amount and degree of illusion to be part of a typical Chinese setup and leave the rest in the power of the imagination. This includes costumes, personal properties, scenic construction, scenic paint etc.

Secondly, projecting the Chinese cultural traits through the actors and background in whatever ways possible and thirdly, to make sure that there is the right amalgamation of colours on stage, which will catch the audience’s imagination and attention right at the start – and the most important way materialising everything, in reality, is to have a direct and extensive conversations with the director who, just the way guides the actors onstage does the same with the actors offstage as well. It is important the stage crew to always have direct communication with the director and that is what happened in this case also. Vijay and Archana were extremely poignant about their thoughts and was quite verbose which directly helped us in understanding the look of the play. Of course, the rest is always supported by research through books, journals, magazines, videos or online articles. The costumes were designed keeping in the authenticity as much as possible with vibrant and charismatic colours and also the fact that the comedy element comes out right at the start – which is why every character is seen wearing bright colours that enhance their on-stage persona. The primary set was prepared by one of our talented actors and the second set was given to tailors to replicate the designs. But the fun part was picking up the cloth materials with everyone together. The most important aspect is teamwork, which puts the team always in the forefront and not an individual.

The Year of the Rooster is what it is because of a team of the very hardworking crew who dared to embark on to take up responsibility and put in their time and effort, for the production to reach its success; and of course with an efficient stage manager who is leading his team on. Nevin is the perfect stage manager.We the backstage crew could work only because Nevin was always enthusiastic enough to run around and going to the shops two thousand times without any complaint. Now that’s a perfect stage manager. And most importantly he knew how to lead his team along in the right direction. The most important quality that the backstage team had was enough room for discussion and mulling over things before zeroing it down. Preeti and Aruna are the lifesavers. It is only because of their creative sense and that we could produce the headgears in its utmost authenticity. Both of them prepared everything from the scratch to make sure that the actors look beautiful and elegant. In fact most of the set properties, personal properties, costumes etc. are all made by hand by our team. Not to mention their always quick – in – action mode makes everything absolutely easy. Today when we are now a week away from having the first show, we the backstage crew are making sure that everything is in order at the right place and at the right time. A true success of a live performance rests on a very ethical and strong backstage team who would ensure that actors have everything ready on the time of the show and that is what The Year of the Rooster is all about.. This is my 5 th production with Bangalore Little Theatre and by now we have travelled through Germany (Emil’s Enemies), Bangalore (Untitled), the unseen forest of Dandkaranya (Mayabazar) and Paris (Dinner with the Family) finally landing to China. In every production, we have tried to enrich the audience with an utmost honesty, the feel of the region through the costumes and several innocuous objects on stage that echoed time and place where the play is set. Being onstage is a different drama and being offstage? That is the whole different ballgame. Teamwork and communication are the keys to success and of course keeping in mind the comfort of the actors. The Year of the Rooster aims that and lastly as the play says ‘Imagination.’ Thus, we invite the audience to tag along with us for a fairytale journey through the lands unknown in China, that we painted it with broad strokes of different colours and contours for you to enjoy..

Nip Smoking Habit in the Bud Arpita Bhattacharje Indian Cancer Society (ICS) Bangalore has been conducting "Say No to Smoking" workshops for 8th to12th grade students in Bengaluru since October 2016. Students from National Public School - HSR Layout, National Public School - Koramangala, Sri Kumaran Children's Home, Sishu Griha and Christel House have participated in this workshop. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of pre-mature deaths. Studies show that smoking can be the cause of many types of cancer, especially Lung Cancer and other ailments such as heart attack, hypertension, emphysema and bronchitis. It has been found that 90% of adult smokers start this habit when they are teenagers. ICS has taken up the initiative to create awareness amongst students in school and spread anti-smoking message through them. Essentially try to nip this habit in the bud. A select team of students are engaged in a three-week project. Interactive discussions are held with students to explain the ill effects of smoking and reasons why students in their teens start to smoke. These students then reach out to their peers and friends to get real life experiences from them. Theatre is then used as a medium to convey the message. Students are encouraged and given guidance on how to write creative, engaging, and entertaining scripts. The message is conveyed through skits / plays presented in the auditorium or in the assembly to a larger audience. In addition, students design and paint poster and slogan to spread the message. These posters are placed at the entrance of the auditorium where we hold a fundraiser play in November / December to raise funds for children with cancer. Everyone who participates is a winner. Please write to if you would like a workshop to be arranged at your school. Many thanks to the following schools who have participated in this workshop and supported the cause by coming over in large numbers to watch the fundraiser play.

Be Smart, Don't Start!

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The Year of the Rooster  

A hilarious English adaptation of a Chinese folk tale that retains much of the Chinese tradition of performance. A small Contribution towar...

The Year of the Rooster  

A hilarious English adaptation of a Chinese folk tale that retains much of the Chinese tradition of performance. A small Contribution towar...