London’s Barbican theatre to adapt Mahabharata on stage

The biggest epic of all time, Mahabharata is now set for a new stage adaptation at the UK premiere at London’s Barbican Theatre this fall. The legendary Hindu epic that packs with it some of the greatest thought changing and detailed philosophies, a powerful story of a great war and spiritual ideas, is presented by the Canadian theatre production ‘Why Not Theatre’ and had its world premiere in Canada back in March at The Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

According to Variety, the production is presented in two parts and narrated by a storyteller (Miriam Fernandes). ‘Karma’ (part 1), is the origin story of the rival Pandava and Kaurava clans. In ‘Dharma’ (part 2), a great battle destroys the planet and the survivors are left behind to rebuild.

The retelling of Mahabharata will be performed by a contingent of actors ranging from across four continents, and all from the Indian subcontinent. The cast includes UK-based performers Ajay Chhabra, Neil D’Souza, Darren Kuppan, Goldy Notay and Sakuntala Ramanee.

Considered probably the greatest Sanskrit epic of all time alongside the ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ tells the story of the struggle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas resulting in the great war of Kurukshetra.

The adaptation done is by Why Not Theatre’s founding artistic director Ravi Jain, and co-artistic director Fernandes, who will be using poetry from Carole Satyamurti’s ‘Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling’. The original concept was developed with Jenny Koons.

Fernandes talking about the big theatre production said: “These stories have been passed from storyteller to audience for thousands of years and span the earth, traveling in the memories and imaginations of the South Asian diaspora. Though first composed in an ancient time, the themes of greed, revenge, ecocide and privilege feel acutely relevant in our globalized world.”

The Mahabharata theatre production will open its big stage on the Barbican October 1 to October 7.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

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