A performance in D'land

Make sure you do something creative this winter break,“ reminded Eva the Stegosaurus, Din Din’s Art teacher, as the students rushed out of the classroom on the last day of school. It was winter break in D’Land and the animals were looking forward to a breather in their studies especially after a grueling month of tests.

As the four dinosaur brothers — Din Din, Derek, Dave and Don — skipped to their cave home a strange sight greeted them.

“Go at once to the dungeon and never return again,” Grandpa dinosaur roared, his face scarlet with rage.

Grandma dinosaur meekly turned away, her mouth trembling she covered her face with her paws.

“Grandpa, Grandma?” cried Din Din in alarm as the four brothers rushed in. “Whatever has happened?”

Grandpa seemed startled to see his grandchildren. Grandma suddenly giggled.

The brothers had never seen their grandparents behave like this.

“Oh my dears! We were just acting!” explained Grandpa with a smile.

“Acting?” asked a puzzled Dave.

“Yes, dears! Acting—putting up a show,” Grandma explained.

“Why would you want to do that?” Don asked in astonishment.

“Well, my dear,” Grandma explained as she served them a hot plum stew for lunch, “Acting is a wonderful way of expressing yourself creatively. It infuses confidence and helps one creature see life from a lot of perspectives.”

“In the remote part of D’Land where we lived, there was a troupe of young monkeys who travelled from place to place and put up shows. They mimicked various creatures and it was fascinating to watch them. They stayed in our vicinity for quite some time and encouraged a lot of people to act and participate in their performances.”

“Your Grandma and I have developed a passion for acting ever since. In fact, your Grandma was the lead performer in one of their shows. She is truly a remarkable actress,” Grandpa said proudly, looking at Grandma affectionately.

“Grandma, that’s fantastic,” remarked Din Din grinning. “Show us something….anything.”

And before their very eyes, their frail old grandma confidently pretended to be a ruthless lioness and a sly fox; as rapidly she transformed herself into a wicked jackal and even a scared kitten by her expressions, speech and body antics.

The four brothers were mesmerized.

“Please teach us how to act too,” Derek pleaded rushing to his grandma. Laughing, the grandparents spent a fun-filled afternoon teaching the brothers the nuances of acting.

Next day, when the four brothers were acting out the part of a poem their grandma had taught them about the habits of dinosaurs, Tyro the young tyrannosaurus sauntered up to them with his group of dinosaur friends.

“What are you all upto?” asked Tyro curiously. Soon, he too wanted to play a part. Not only did the brothers get pleas to give them a role but they also attracted an audience of interested spectators.

“What have we here?” asked Fredrick, one of the dinosaur elders. He was deeply amused by the performance and took the entire troupe to Old Rex’s cave.

Old Rex, the dinosaur leader did not smile or laugh when he saw them perform. He lost himself in deep thought.

Finally, Old Rex said. “Your performance has given me an opportunity to build a positive image of the dinosaurs of D’Land. I urge you all — all you youngsters — to put on a show about dinosaurs. Invite all the creatures of D’Land; this is a perfect chance to help them see the softer and creative side of dinosaurs.”

Din Din, his brothers and the other amateur actors listened in rapture to their leader. Could they do this?

“My Grandma is a talented actress,” Din Din murmured consciously.

So Grandma was nominated as their acting coach. Grandpa volunteered to be head of publicizing their performance. “The ideal venue for our show is the orange orchard — it is big enough to accommodate a hundred spectators of assorted sizes,” said Fredrick. “We can hold two shows per day for an entire week.”

“We can even charge a nominal barter as entrance to the show,” suggested Grandpa. “It would be an ingenious way to earn revenue.” Old Rex loved the idea. Tickets were made from leaves and sold in exchange for nuts and wheat and even herbs.

Posters were drawn and put up in the most populated parts of D’Land and even colourful pamphlets were distributed.

The dinosaurs’ performance became the most talked about and anticipated event of the winter. Mornings were spent in writing and rewriting the script which revolved around different species of dinosaurs and their qualities. Rehearsals went on late into the evening.

On the first day of the performance, the entire dinosaur community of Fruit Park was up with the first rays of dawn. “I wonder if people will actually turn up?” wondered Din Din, butterflies fluttering in his tummy.

But he need not have worried. The orange orchard was packed when it was time for the first show.

“It’s natural to be nervous when you are facing an audience. But you all have memorized your parts flawlessly. Once you concentrate on your performance the magic of the stage will sweep you forward,” Grandma encouraged the entire troupe of 15 actors gathered backstage.

Before long, the show began. The audience was mesmerized by the acting and laughed and cried as scenes changed. When time came for the enactment to end, the applause was deafening.

“Bravo! Bravo!” resounded cries from the audience. They were standing and clapping demanding that the actors come onto the stage again. “Go on! Take a bow!” Grandma urged Din Din and the other actors who were backstage, blushing with pleasure.

“Din Din!” yelled Dazel as she met her best friend after the show. “I have never seen such a show. This is the first time such a theater performance has taken place in D’Land.”

“What a memorable event,” Wiz Rooster agreed. “I will urge all the birds from Aviary School to watch this show accompanied by their parents. It is such a productive way to spend time. The moral of the play was also worth remembering. Such performances leave an impact on young minds and teach life-long lessons.”

Old Rex was brimming with pride.

“You were able to do something which seemed impossible. You were able to finally change the negative stereotypes which surround dinosaurs — all due to this medium of the stage. We must have a permanent Drama Society in Fruit Park.”

“Grandma! We could never have done all this if it wasn’t for you,” said Din Din and his brothers as they enveloped her in a bear-hug. And their talented Grandma beamed with pride.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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