The Mythologyworkshop presents Gandhari – The Mother Who Chose Not To See, in the Etcetera Theatre, Camden NW1, London. In blending the mythic with the modern, ‘Echoes of Gandhari’ is a deep dive into the legacy of Gandhari- that formidable, melancholy matriarch of the Mahabharata. A Preview feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.
Choosing to blindfold herself in solidarity with her husband- the blind King Dhritirasthra- Ghandari makes a decision that, in time, will cost her everything. Along the way we are introduced to the lives of three contemporary women, now struggling with motherhood and womanhood, and the ways in which they too, have chosen to metaphorically blind themselves. Each scene, whether poetic or modern, will offer a direct parallel to some part of Gandhari’s story, in an attempt to ask, what is the relevance of that mother’s tragedy today?
The play is the product of the international theatre workshop, Performing Mythological Characters In Contemporary Theatre, conducted in London.
Director of the workshop and co-writer, Tom Edward Kane recently spoke about the workshop and the play. “The objective of this workshop is to give performers an opportunity to explore complex methodological characters from their cultures. In this edition we explore Gandhari, one of the major characters in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, who has not been explored much in contemporary literature, cinema or theatre performances. Perhaps, it is the only play where we explore her in depth and find her to be more relevant and alive in the age of willful blindness that we are living in.”
The play is co-written and performed by Vaishali Chakravarty, an actor and the founder of Joy Of Drama a drama-in-education organization based in India. She is approaching the performance from her real life experience as a teacher where she has to meet mother everyday. “It’s not easy to be a woman and more so, a mother. As a teacher, I have to interact with mothers everyday and some of them are living a life much like Gandhari. They wear blindfolds of various kinds and choose not to see things that lead to some of the most important issues we are facing today.”
The play is directed by the RADA graduate Katie Georgiou, who takes a contemporary view of Gandhari. “One way of looking at performing a mythological character is a grand and colorful costume drama, nothing wrong with that but I wanted to put her in the world we live in today. In which shape and form do we see her around us or inside us? In the process, we may be able to make the audience look inwards and think about the choices that we have made in our lives.”
‘Gandhari- The Mother Who Chose Not To See’ will have five performances between Sep 26-30, 2023, including a special post-show discussion with the cast and crew on 30 Sep 2023.
Tom Edward Kane – Co-Writer & Workshop Director
Tom is an actor, writer and director from London and a graduate of RADA. His focus of creative research has been Indian Mythology and its complex characters. He has written and acted in several plays and short films. He is also a visiting faculty at RADA and an independent teacher.
Vaishali Chakravarty- Co-Writer & Actor
Vaishali is an actor and drama-in-education expert from New Delhi. She has trained and performed with the master Indian theatre practitioners Ima Sabitri Devi and Late Heisnam Kanhailal. She has performed in several productions with the Actor Factor Theatre Company. Her theatre credits include Anurag Kashyap’s Aakaar, Shashak Gupta’s The Leela Tapes, Munshi Premchand’s Kafan, Girish Karnad’s Bali and Sunit Sinha’s Khudgudi. Her performances have found special mentions in The Hindu, Indian Express and The Times of India.
Katie Georgiou – Director
Katie is an actor from Newcastle upon Tyne and a graduate of RADA (2008). Theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (RSC), Heartbeat of El Salvador (Rise Theatre) Ms. (RADA Festival). Her directing credits include No Exit (Sartre) and Twelfth Night. She is thrilled to be directing this exciting re – imagining of the Gandhari story.
Shashwat Srivastava- Sound, Art And Communication Design
Shashwat is a music composer, actor, director, playwright and an advertising professional from New Delhi. His repertoire of work includes a number of theatre productions, feature films, documentaries, music albums and award winning advertising campaigns. He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute Of Mass Communication, New Delhi.
About Mythologyworkshop Ltd
Mythologyworkshop is an organization founded by Tom Edward Kane to bring artists, scholars, performers and audiences together to explore the fascinating world of mythology, its stories and characters and how much these reflect upon our times. The company aims to organize workshops, shorts courses and produce plays and films on the subject.
About Joy Of Drama
Joy Of Drama is an organization dedicated to helping children and young adults develop intelligence and life skills through drama. Based in New Delhi, the organization conducts several long and short term programs and creates opportunities for young people to create theatre plays.