Shakuntala Remembered by Little Jasmine Theater

image I went to a performance of Shakuntala Remembered by the Little Jasmine Theater group. It was an English Adaptation of Shakuntala as originally written by Kalidasa using a number of translations. The story is about Shakuntala who is wedded to Dushyanta (a gandharva wedding, no less!) during one of his hunting sprees, but subsequently forgets about her completely and even humiliates her in front of the whole court.

The performance was actually a fusion of theater by Kirtana Kumar, a kalari performance by Anmol Mothi and guitar sounds by Konarak Reddy. Kirtana carried almost the whole performance and the narrative on her own shoulders, and Anmol mainly spoke with his body — moving it delicately with lyrical quality, in fact, his dialogs were in Malayalam (which is something I didn’t quite get the motivation for). Each of them were great by themselves, but the fusion didn’t happen. It seemed more like a pastiche stitched together hastily. It seemed like three artists performing separately, but not a single performance which it should have been.

imageAlso, there were a number of meta-stories around the main plot — of Vyasa and Narada and of Shakuntala talking to a bunch of wise men. There was a meta-meta-story about terrorism and of loss of self-righteousness in the yuga of kali. These felt completely forced. The connection to terrorism was just not there — for some reason the sutradhar kept talking about terrorism which to my ignorant self seemed completely unrelated to the rest of the plot. There could have been other ways to establish relevance to current affairs, some better than showing recent terrorist activities on a video at the beginning of a play about love.

However, in the midst of this, it dawned to me that mathematics was not one of the strong points of Kalidasa (or his translators). Shakuntala waited for Dushyanta for 12 years, which they equated with 4380 days (or some other number ending in zero). Since 12*365 ends in a zero (because 5 and 2 would be factors), and the number of leap years in a span of 12 consecutive years can not be more than 9 or less than 1, this number doesn’t seem quite right to me. Perhaps some algebra I don’t know about :-P On second thoughts, there can be a fallacy in this reasoning. Let’s see if somebody can point this out.

The mathematical digression, and the very poor joke aside, they play was a decent performance, but not the best that I have seen. They should have worked harder on the screenplay. It remained a good performance, and can not be called superlative, and will not make it to my spaces blog.

Some more coverage: here, here and here.

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About kpowerinfinity
I *♥* technology, business, conversations, experiences, books, music, theater, coffee and people. I am an entrepreneur in the city of Bangalore - my company, Capillary, provides customer engagement programs and marketing services to retailers around the world.

12 Responses to Shakuntala Remembered by Little Jasmine Theater

  1. Thejesh GN says:

    I was supposed to be there but missed due to personal work. Will try to see next time.

  2. keshuvko says:

    At least there are some people who love to go to theatre!

  3. @thej: It was worth watching once.

    @keshuvko: There are many. They are just hard to find..!

  4. puresunshine says:

    Hmmm! Well the concept seemed interesting. Why don’t these plays come to Calcutta. I was reading today about Naseruddin Shah’s adaption of Antigone. He will be acting in the play, too. I remember being part of the production in college but then again, it’s uncertain whether Shah will be coming to Calcutta with this performance. Though, he certainly wants to, he said!

  5. @puresunshine: Plays do go to Calcutta, I am sure. It’s after all supposed to be the culture capital of the country. I would have to watch Shar’s Antigone as well… hmm!

  6. puresunshine says:

    yeah! plays do come here! it’s great when big brand names sponsor them. but it’s rare. recently, we had a theatre festival. though i cudnt go, thanks to my job, we had some real good productions! but it is nothing compared to delhi! and from ur blogposts, even b’lore for that matter!

  7. @pursunshine: Haven’t gone to a ‘theater festival’ till now. Would like to go sometime. Perhaps visit Mumbai – Prithvi Theater.

  8. puresunshine says:

    yeah! we had a production, we as in some friends i know, who staged a play (zoo story) at prithvi. It was then the only play from here to go to prithvi.

  9. @puresunshine: That’s very cool! You should ask your friends to come to Banglaore sometime… :)

  10. Ivan says:

    Hey there,

    I am doing this play sakuntala in school for theatre studies. Do you mind helping me out? I am supposed to be presenting my directorial view on this play (which means directing it). I am very interested in westernising the play. Can you feed me with ideas about this? Do you mind telling me more about the setting in this play, how to bring out the animals, the curse, effects and everything. If you could also send me pictures from the production, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your time

    Regards,
    Ivan

  11. Institute of Factual Theatre Arts says:

    ABOUT US:

    Institute of Factual Theatre Arts is a well-known entertainment groups and working in this particular field since 1998. In the Mainstream Proscenium the group is working sincerely. But it has not restricted its limits only at proscenium theatre but street theatre, intimate theatre, poster drama and other theatre forms. The experimentation continued to yield the excellence reflecting in the increasing popularity of production as well as the group.
    Our Mission & Vision:

    “Sustainable cultural development of advancement for quality human life.”
    MAINSTREAM PRODUCTION

    In one hand it was increasing its social work on the country the mainstream using was on full swing. The group premiered ‘KI-KAN-DO’ a satire drama at Rabindra Sadan in 2002. Then in 2003 it launched ‘RITU SUKHE BIBARNO KAVITA’ conflict between libido crisis and continuous transformation of the conjugal life. On 2003 another short play ‘MAA’, inspired from ‘Mother’ by Maxim Gorky was staged. In 2004 it has launched its first bi-lingual production ‘Chitrangada’, a mythological journey of metamorphosis, inspired from Tagore’s dance drama ‘Chitrangada’. For the first time from the drawing room pattern, the director tried to explore a new form. Live music, Folk Elements, Martial Art, Chhou (known folk form) and songs of Tagore was used to design the drama. The novelty and musical format earn the invitation in two consecutive “National Youth Festival” of 2005 and 2006. The production won ‘gold’ in 2005. Now it is working in its new production “Sacrifice”, premiered at Rabindra Sadan on 6th March 2007.

  12. Sarah says:

    Hi,

    I am studying this play for theatre and working on directing a modern revival of it as well and need to present my directorial view on the play– like Ivan above! Any advice would be great. Could you tell me what aspects I should include in order to hold on to the Indian tradition of the play while adding Western concepts, or what types of characters to cast? Also, any photos of the production would really help.
    Thank You!

    -Sarah

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