Sanichari has lost the ability to cry. How then, can she take on the job of a professional mourner?
Auckland’s Indo English theatre group Prayas is presenting Rudali, the Mourner, one of India’s more challenging plays, rich in social issues and colourful characters.
Rudali, the Mourner is the story of Sanichari who has been surrounded by misfortune all her life. She is numb to misery - even the death of her beloved son doesn’t bring any tears…soon her daughter in law abandons her to become a prostitute.
How then, does a lonely woman survive in a society of powerful men who exploit women and the poor for a living?
Rudali the Mourner, the new English play from Prayas is a compelling, yet highly entertaining social drama. We take you to Tohri village in India where lower caste women are hired to wail upon the death of rich upper-caste males. While they beat their breasts in public, the family of the dead retain their upper caste dignity with silence.
Come to Tohri and meet a host of lively characters –the caring and conniving neighbours, a long lost friend, the comic village priest, ruthless landlords, brazen prostitutes and a wickedly endearing old nag. Together they weave a story of friendship, treachery, greed, lust and duplicity and of course the unusual “business” of Rudali.
“It is a brave play, and it is challenging for Prayas as it deals with some of the harsher issues that India faces,” co-director Amit Ohdedar says. “All the players have a passion for all things India, but it takes courage to open up with the community we now call home.”
Written by the now 86-year-old Mashasweta Devi, it fearlessly tackles wealth, abuse of women and prostitution.
“I constantly come across the reappearance, in various forms, of folklore, ballads, myths and legends, carried by ordinary people across generations....The reason and inspiration for my writing are those people who are exploited and used, and yet do not accept defeat,” Devi says.
“For me, the endless source of ingredients for writing is in these amazingly, noble, suffering human beings. Why should I look for my raw material elsewhere, once I have started knowing them? Sometimes it seems to me that my writing is really their doing.”
Rudali-The Mourner will showcase Indian folk music with a live orchestra, colourful dances and a vibrant village carnival.
Rudali- The Mourner, based on a story by Mahasweta Devi, will be staged at TAPAC, 100 Motions Rd, Western Springs, Auckland from May 18 to 27, 2012
Bookings open now at www.tapac.org.nz or visit www.prayas.co.nz
Phone: TAPAC (The Auckland Performing Arts Centre): 8450295
Directed by Amit Ohdedar and Margaret Mary Hollins
Assisted by Ahi Karunaharan
Produced by Sudeepta Vyas
Assisted by Zetin Moza, Satya Akula, Gaurav Bradoo
Costume and make up: Padma Akula and Monica Mahendru
Creative Director, Photography: Bhavnesh Soni
Choreography: Rahul Chopra
Music: Moushumi Das
Patricia Vichmann, Monica Mahendru, Shilpi Pillai, Monica Nangia,
Sangeeta Hariharan, Madhumita Chatterjee, Anya Banerjee, Nona Shedde, Sudeepta Vyas, Mala Bhaduri, Lucy Xia, Abbas Burmawala, Ram Manthry, Dilbagh Singh, Gaurav Bradoo, Vijesh Nangia, Dhrupad Siddhanta, Rahul Chopra, Shibashish Dutta Chowdhury, Murali Kumar, Ditoya Ghosh, Sangeeta Gupta