South Asian Theater Festival 2012
This Year’s Performances
On the night of December 3, 1984, Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, exploded, engulfing the city in a billow of deadly poisonous fumes. Small children fell like flies, men and women vainly scurried for safety like wounded animals, only to collapse, breathless and blinded by the gas. By morning, the death toll was over 500, by sunset, 2,500. By the following day, numbers had no meaning. That night, Bhopal became the largest peacetime gas chamber in history. The play reveals the human stories within the complex political and economic web that located a chemical plant in Bhopal and leads to human tragedy. It has been described as a taut political drama based on the events leading up to one of the worst industrial catastrophes in history. Although the play takes contemporary events as its subject, it does not feel like the stereotypical “political theatre.” Rather, through telling the stories of its characters, the play reaches and connects with audiences on an emotional level.
In 1959, the iconic post-independence playwright Mohan Rakesh’s “AADHE ADHURE” was published which imprinted his name as the sculptor of modern Hindi theatre. This play deviated from the then prevalent themes based on mythology or historical events became immensely popular due to its stylistic freshness and the contemporary content. Realistic depiction of the middle class milieu, spoken fluency of the dialogue, thematic intensity protruding out of the simple structure, all this and many other features make this play a classic in Indian theatre.
Theater can be delicious, devilish fun. It can also be tender, searching, intentional and evocative. Anuvab Pal’s latest play, “Chaos Theory” has all of these traits. The play follows the always exasperating, surprisingly devoted and frequently comical friendship between Mukesh Singh and Sunita Sen over the course of 35 years. (Desi talk, June 4, 2010).
The narrative explores their struggle to deal with romance, their academic careers and changing identities. Spanning from 1965 to present day, the play presents the audience with the opportunity to understand the development of India and its relations with Western culture. As Sunita and Mukesh struggle to understand their feelings for each other, the audience gets an emotional glimpse into the complications caused by simultaneously attempting to live in two different cultures.
Developed over eight years in the Playwrights’ Lab at Pulse Ensemble Theater, “Chaos Theory” was a finalist at The BBC World Playwriting competition in 2007 and debuted as part of Pulse’s 20th season celebration.
Gandhi (in Hindi and Gujarati)
New Jersey based Gujarati theater group, Shakuntal Arts will present two one act play. Gandhi, based on popular Gujarati folk (Bhavai) and Sarahad, a play in Hindi that explores a comical interaction between an Indian and Pakistani soldier during a war both Directed by reknowned Gujarati theater practitioner in tri-state area, sri Sailesh Trivedi.