A masterpiece of world theatre, Shakuntala, which means one who is brought up by birds (Shakun), is an epic love story, known and revered by South Asians the world over. It is about King Dushyanta and a devout young woman, Shakuntala, who meet in innocence, fall in love, then are cruelly separated before they are eventually reconciled and reunited in eternity. Their child is destined to become the enlightened ruler of the world. Poetic and deeply human, this story takes us on a magnificent, emotion-filled journey that is profound and far-reaching. This marks the first professional production of Shakuntala in Canada.
Adapted and Directed by Charles Roy, Choreography by Hari Krishnan, Original music by Reza Jacobs.
Set Design by Teresa Przybylski, Costumes by Milan Shahani, Lighting Design by Itai Erdal.
Shakuntala by Kalidasa
February 4 - 15, 2009
Fleck Dance Theatre at Harbourfront Centre
Queen’s Quay Terminal
Shakuntala is part of World Stage Festival at Harbourfront Centre
Preview: Wednesday, February 4 at 8:00 PM
Opening: Thursday, February 5 at 8:00 PM
Performances: Tues – Sat at 8:00 pm | Matinées: Sat/Sun at 2:00pm
The legend of the exquisitely beautiful Shakuntala and the mighty King Dushyanta is a thrilling love story from the ancient epic, Mahabharata, which lies at the origin of Indian culture and religion. The great poet, Kalidasa, retold the story in his immortal play, The Recognition of Shakuntala or (Abhijnanashakuntalam.)
In bringing Shakuntala to modern Canadian audiences, I have sought to underline the universal qualities of Kalidasa’s play by using a very diverse cast and by mixing many theatrical traditions with those from classical Indian theatre. By taking these traditions from all over the world and mixing them together, we’re actually able to extract elements that might in some way relate to our audiences here, thereby allowing them to access this glorious world of 5th century India, and hopefully to unlock the play’s unique and very rich power.-- Charles Roy
Charles was born in Vancouver to Indian and British parents. He studied at McGill University (BA), Visva-Bharati University (Santiniketan) and York University (MFA – Directing). He is the co-founder of the Classical Theatre Project, Talking Camel Productions and The Lower Ossington Theatre. Recent directing credits include: Hamlet (Classical Theatre Project), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CTP), Romeo and Juliet (Dora Nomination), the Canadian premiere of Neil LaBute’s Autobahn, Shakuntala (York University), and Look Back In Anger (Santiniketan Dramatics, Kolkata, India.) Most recently he composed and played the music for The Great Gatsby at the Lower Ossington Theatre.
David Collins has performed extensively on stage, film, TV and radio, throughout Canada and the US. This year he was a Company member at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, performing in Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labor's Lost, and Ceasar and Cleopatra. Most recently he received a Dora nomination for his performance in Twilight Café. Toronto audiences will remember him in The Adventures of a Black Girl in Search of God (Mirvish), Comedy of Errors (Canstage), Pusha Man(Theatre Passe Muraille), Bunnicula (LKYPT), Film and Television: Mr. Magorium’s Magic Emporium, Regenesis, Owing Mahoney, Shoot em Up, The Incredible Hulk, MVP and Nurse Fighter Boy.
Frank Cox-O’Connell (Vidusaka, Durvasas)
Recent acting credits include The Drawer Boy (Theatre Passe Murialle as well as a British tour with Farnham Maltings, UK), Sanctuary Song (Tapestry New Opera for Luminato), Bach at Leipzig (Theatre Athena) and The Demonstration (Theatre Direct). Frank also creates and performs new work with, among others, Small Wooden Shoe (with whom he is currently developing Dedicated To The Revolutions for Buddies in Bad Times spring ’09), Public Recordings, and One Reed Theatre (founding member creating Never Underestimate The Power, It’s Hard to Count to a Million and Nor The Cavaliers Who Come With Us – spotlight award for performance SummerWorks ‘06), As a musician, Frank plays drums and banjo with Boys Who Say No. He’s a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.
PRAGNA DESAI (Priyamvad)
Most recently: Bhopal in Canada Steel for which Pragna was nominated for a Dora Award - Outstanding Performance. Selected TV and Film: CBC’s The Border, ABC's In Justice; NBC's award-winning series ER; Slings and Arrows; Train 48 on Global; Missing; Sue Thomas FBI; Blue Murder; Mutant X; Tom Clancy's The Sum Of All Fears; Deepa Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood. Selected Theatre: Sabra in Eastern Front Theatre’s production of In The Backseat. Two seasons at the Stratford Festival in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pride and Prejudice, Tartuffe, The Alchemist, and the Governor General award-winning play by Timothy Findley Elizabeth Rex; Canstage; LKTYP; and Great Expectations at Winnipeg's Prairie Theatre Exchange. Pragna is the recipient of a Tyrone Guthrie Award from the Stratford Festival for Outstanding Talent.
Anita is a graduate of the acting program of theNational Theatre School of Canada and holds a degree in English, Theatre and South Asian Languages from theUniversity of British Columbia. Dancing for 12 years, Anita's training originates in Kathak, but she has also studied Bharatnatyam and Odissi. Theatre credits include her self-written/self-performed The Misfit (PUSH Festival, Vancouver/ Theatre Passe Muraille) and Fish Eyes (The Other Festival, India.) Acting Credits include: Bloom (Modern Times Stage), Bombay Black (Cahoots Theatre Projects/Arts Club Theatre), and Tales from Ovid (Centaur Theatre). Film Credits include: Force Four/CBC's Murder Unveiled, loosely based on the true life story of Jassi Sidhu, for which Anita received her first acting award at the Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore. Additionally, she was one of 50 artists invited to celebrate the Canada Council for the Arts' 50th Anniversary with the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaële Jean. Anita was Playwright in Residence withNightswimming Theatrelast season and was invited this summer by British Columbia's Ministryof the Attorney General to perform excerpts from The Misfit for their annual forum on domestic violence. Upcoming in 2009: Aisha n' Ben (South Asian Arts/ Theatre Jihad), Rice Boy (Stratford Festival) and Diverted (CBC Television).
Shakuntala marks Carrie-Lynn's first full length production with Pleiades Theatre and she couldn't be more thrilled to be working with this incredible cast and creative team. Since graduating from Sheridan College's Music Theatre Performance Program Carrie-Lynn has worked with The Classical Theatre Project in Toronto performing such roles as: Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Ophelia (Hamlet), Helena (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and was a member of the ensemble in the Dora nominated production of Macbeth. Carrie-Lynn is excited to work on another challenging and inspiring classical piece.
Sanjay Talwar (King Dushyanta)
Originally from Halifax, Sanjay was Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Rough for the last four years and directed their most recent production, The Merchant of Venice, this past summer. Recent acting credits include Rosencrantz in Hamlet (Soulpepper) and two productions of Helen's Necklace at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and at Pi Theatre in Vancouver, where he won a Jessie Award for Best Supporting Actor. Sanjay played a recent role in CBC'c The Border, episode "Target of Opportunity" and appeared in the feature films The Dawn of the Dead and A Touch of Pink starring Jimi Mistry and Suleka Mathew.
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