CriticalDance Forum

Uttar Priyadarashi
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Author:  Emma Pegler [ Fri Sep 28, 2001 9:02 am ]
Post subject:  Uttar Priyadarashi

As part of the BITE:01 season at the Barbican Theatre, the Chorus Repertory Theatre of Manipur (north east India) presented Uttar Priyardarshi. All members of the company are schooled in dance, acting, martial arts and stage craft and so we have a performance which is theatre, with a story enrolling through the spoken word (with surtitles translating into English) and through dance. Total expression, really. The story is a story of Ashoka, a militaristic emperor of the 3rd century BC and the external hell created in his empire and metaphors for his inner torment.<P>The movements of the dancers/actors are beautifully executed. There is an incredibly moving scene of war widows swaddled in white cloth, completely covering their faces, walk across the stage, chanting laments for their lost husbands, chillingly elegant in the delays between the steps.<P>My companion is a theatre expert and thought she could see why so many western theatre directors look east for their methodology. Certainly the theatrical effects, such as the streams of red material wound around the emperor, clothing him in the blood of dead soldiers, effectively, were as clever and direct as anything I have seen from western companies.<P>There is also a wonderful elephant which, with the brilliant lighting provided by the Barbican Theatre, looked quite real.

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Sat Sep 29, 2001 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Uttar Priyadarashi

<A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>Evening Standard</B></A><P>Well, the elephant was well received, but there was a lack of willingness to understand theatre that was not delivered in English - ie, I believe the reason the critic did not feel it was acessible was because it was not English language theatre - if the critic had been interested in dance, it would have appealed for the very fact of the beautiful Indian dance movements..The story was told through movement as much as through the spoken word.<p>[This message has been edited by Emma Pegler (edited September 29, 2001).]

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