Kingdom of Cards | 2011

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2011 gave us the unique opportunity to showcase one of India’s finest legends – Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).  A novelist, playwright, musician, academic, visionary…and a man who lived far ahead of his time.  Prayas, on this 150  birth year of Tagore, selected Tasher Desh, Kingdom of Cards, one of his timeless classics.

THE PLAY & THE PLAYWRIGHT

During his long, prolific and highly influential career, Tagore was a leading figure of the Indian national movement, a contemporary of Gandhi, composer of the Indian and the Bangladesh National anthems, a powerful social, political and educational thinker and a winner of Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Tasher Desh – The Kingdom of Cards, was written in 1933. Tagore was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and Western opera when he wrote Tasher Desh. It is a satirical portrayal of a society ruled by strict conventions. It is a cheerful, humorous, satirical play infused with the spirit of life. Though the play can be classified in the genre of comedy, one cannot but ignore the political and satirical undertone .The boffins of the Card Country have suppressed the freedom of its people, until the chaos of humanity as brought in by the Prince and his friend, stoke the fire of desire for freedom in them and the cards start to challenge and revolt.

Tagore is adored for his songs. In his creative life of more than seventy years he wrote and composed music for thousands of songs. Some seventy years since his death, his music popularly known as Rabindrasangeet, is still extremely popular among the Bengalis – particularly the educated middle class. Importantly unlike the classical music, in Tagore’s songs the lyrics and melody walk hand in hand – they complement each other, and need to be enjoyed together. We used some of his songs in this play.

While embarking on this journey, we had some nagging doubt whether Tagore’s works can sever the boundary of language, culture and time. Eight weeks later,  working on it with a cast of more than 20, we could see how strong his voice is that it permeated and resonated so quickly with a totally different generation in a totally different cultural and societal context.

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THE CAST

Prince: Kanchan Bandyopadyay

Merchant: Sid Menon

Queen: Mala Bhaduri

Mr Six: Rahul Gandhi

Mr Five: James Ellis

King: Ahi Karunaharan

Knave / One: Josh Momberg

Queen: Sudeepta Vyas

Ms Ace: Jenny Li

Ms Spades: Divya Hariharan

Ms Clubs: Shreya Gejji

Ms Hearts: Anita Crisinel

Mr Diamonds: Brendan Lovell

Pandit Ten: Dilbagh Asphlani

Mrs Ten: Sucheta Banerjee

Two: Mellissa Wells

Three: Arpit Joshi

Four: Rahul Chopra

Master Card: Rahul Banerjee

Manipuri Dancer: Kuhelika Samanta

THE  MUSICIANS

Vocal & Harmonium: Rani Aklima

Vocal & Guitar: Krittibas Dasgupta

Vocal: Vidya Teke

Acoustic Guitar: Tristan Hancock

Synthesiser: Andrew Correa

Tabla: Vipul  Dev

Flute, Violin, Arrangement: Jaydon Li

THE CREW

Costume Design: Annamarie Dixon

Wardrobe & Makeup: Padma Akula,

Show Technician: Ambrose Simons

Stage Management: Patricia Hollran

Hall Management: Nilanjan Ghoshal, Chirodeep Banerjee

Visual Artist: Bhavnesh soni

Marketing, Social Media, Publicity: Shenila Maharaj, Gaurav Bradoo, Zetin Moza

Media Management: Sudeepta Vyas, Angela  Radford

Videography: Pratap Banerjee

Photography: Bhavnesh Soni, Michael Field

Assistant Director: Padma Akula

Music Coordinator: Rahul Gandhi

Acting Coach: Laurel Devenie

Production Assistants: Gaurav Bradoo, Zetin Moza, Sachin  Purohit

Choreography: Jason Moore

Producer: Sudeepta Vyas

Direction: Amit Ohdedar

SPECIAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Margaret-Mary Hollins

Kavita Upadhyay

Sanjit Dutta

Rohit Pande

Tapan Vahanwala

Jatin Nandrajog

Rajita Patel

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