NJPAC Presents South Asian Theater Festival

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NEWARK – NJPAC’s Alternate Routes Series, in collaboration with Epic Actors’ Workshop, hosts the FIFTH annual South Asian Theater Festival, an exploration of the artistry and diversity of South Asia through theater. The festival, to be held in NJPAC’s Victoria Theater on Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday, Nov. 21,  includes performances by Epic Actors’ Workshop, Theatrix and the Navarasa Dance Theater.   Complete festival information is available at www.satf2010.org.

Tickets for each day are $28 and are available by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), at the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or by visiting the NJPAC website at www.njpac.org. Alternate Routes is made possible, in part, by American Express, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Discover Jersey Arts.


On November 20 at 7:30pm, following a festival-opening candle lighting ceremony, Navarasa Dance Theater brings to the Victoria Theater stage The Encounter, based on the story Draupadi by Magsaysay award-winning novelist Mahasweta Devi.  The production tells the poignant tale of Dopdi and her unarmed fight against military powers that try to oppress indigenous communities. Choreographed and directed by Aparna Sindhoor and Anil Natyaveda, it blends theater and music with Indian martial arts (kalaripayattu), folk dance (bharatanatyam) and yoga.

The opening night double-bill continues with Muktidham, an award-winning play performed in Hindi with English supertitles by New Jersey-based theater troupe Theatrix.  It tells the story of how a young man, determined to make a better life for himself, must rethink his definition of success through examining his relationship with his dying father.

On November 21 at 3pm in the Victoria Theater, New Jersey’s own Epic Actors’ Workshop brings The Little Clay Cart, a romantic, sometimes humorous work atypical of Sanskrit theater, yet one of the form’s very earliest dramas. The production tells the story of a man falsely accused of killing his lover, and her return from the beyond to save him.  The story itself has been translated for the BBC and for big-screen Bollywood. This new production will wed elements of conventional Balinese topeng with those of the ancient Sanskrit theatre, particularly kutiyattam. The production will be performed in English.

Following the performance, there will be a post-performance reception and discussion entitled Challenge/Change/Catharsis: Theater That Transforms with Amal Allana, chair of National School of Drama in India; Dr. Richard Schechner, Professor of Performance Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts; director/actor Monireh Hashemi from the Simorgh Association of Arts in Afghanistan; and director/actor Dr. Mohan Agashe of India.  The discussion will be moderated by Arnab Banerji, a PhD student in the Department of Theater and Film at the University of Georgia.  The discussion is partly supported by a grant from New Jersey Council for Humanities.

Originally formed in 1988 in New York, Epic Actors Workshop is a not-for profit company registered in New Jersey with a mission to showcase and underscore the importance of South Asian theater,  performance and the arts within its community and in the larger context of mainstream American culture.  The Company organized the first South Asian Theater Festival in 2006.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over 6 million visitors (more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit www.njpac.org for more information.

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