Re-visiting the Panchatantra : staging ancient folklores for a 21st century audience
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This is a study of two scripts; an adaptation titled The Jackal’s Pride and an original play titled Toy Box. The inspiration for both scripts derived from an ancient collection of tales called Panchatantra which consists of children’s stories that are individually accompanied by a moral. Dating back to 3rd century BC and written for young readers, the tales were an important vessel for addressing “politics and human behaviour” through anthropomorphism and metaphors (“Panchatantra Fables. Introduction - The Gold Scales" 1). Writing folktales that carry political messages in a format that is easily understood by children highlights an irony that prompted the incorporation of a Child-as-Teacher persona in both script; children are exposed to the consequences of immorality at a young age through stories and yet these fables generally use grown-up characters to shed light on mistakes that adults make. The Child-as-Teacher characters in The Jackal’s Pride and Toy Box (i.e. Wild Dog Pup and Dorothy) are therefore essential in depicting scenarios where it is the child who attempt to teach adults a lesson or reveal a hidden problem. In Eric Christian Haugaard’s words, “We have […]something to give our children- a tool that may make them capable of being better and greater human beings than we are” (“Truth, the Child, and Literature” 302). Hence, by putting the child figure at the foreground, the plays amplify the child’s voice and highlight their importance in a society where their knowledge is undermined by adults.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University