Rudali | 2012
Rudali the Mourner is set in the village of Tohri in Eastern India – although it could easily be any rural community in India, or even any place else– where powerful men exploit women – the wife, the neighbour and the local prostitute.
In Tohri, as in many places, women of a lower caste are hired as mourners upon the death of rich upper-caste males. A Rudali (rou-daali) is paid to grieve aloud publicly so the family of the dead retain their upper caste dignity befitting their social status.
Rudali the Mourner is devised from the short story in Bengali by Mahasweta Devi. Of her faith in the downtrodden, she has said the following: “The reason and inspiration for my writing are those people who are exploited and used, and yet do not accept defeat.”
Rudali the Mourner explores a serious issue in an entertaining and engaging format and features a rich array of music and dance.
Rudali was adopted as a successful play in Hindi and also made into a film. Our version of the play tried to retain the original plot and flavour with changes made to suit our time and audience.
Rudali was performed at the Auckland Performing Arts Centre (Tapac) between 18th and 27th May 2012 to a sell-out audience.
The huge ensemble of 23 actors and three musicians fill the theatre with an ever-changing parade of flamboyant characters and the pulsating energy of a village carnival is brought to life with some wildly enthusiastic folk dances – Paul Simei Barton (New Zealand Herald)
What I got from this production is that when comparing it with Kingdom of Cards, this is a troupe that likes to have fun, regardless of the subject matter. They are passionate about their community theatre”, as one of the directors put it, and want you to leave with the same sense of enjoyment as any other ninety-minute entertainment you may have chosen. I think that they succeeded. – Aidan-B. Howard (Theatreview)
Patricia Vichmann as Sanichari, Monica Mahendru as Bikhni, Anya Banerjee as Parbatia with
Shilpi Pillai, Monica Nangia, Sangeeta Hariharan, Madhumita Chatterjee, Nona Shedde, Sudeepta Vyas, Mala Bhaduri, Lucy Xia, Sangeeta Gupta, Ditoya Ghosh, Abbas Burmawala, Ram Manthry, Dilbagh Singh, Gaurav Bradoo, Vijesh Nangia, Dhrupad Siddhanta, Rahul Chopra, Shibashish Dutta Chowdhury and Murali Kumar
Violin: Kim Gruebner
Tabla: Vidhit Naik
Piano: Ahi Karunaharan
Lead Vocalist: Moushumi Das
Costume and make up: Padma Akula, Monica Mahendru
Dance Choreography: Rahul Chopra
Lighting Design: Rachel Marlow
Marketing: Nilanjan Ghoshal, Zetin Moza, Sudeepta Vyas
Photography: Bhavnesh Soni, Michael Field
Production Assistance: Sachin Purohit, Rohit Chauhan, Shiksha Sridhar
Publicity Design: Bhavnesh Soni
Publicity Management: Kristina Hard
Sets & Props: Jessika Verryt
Stage Manager: Kanchan Bandyopadhyay
Technician: Michael Craven
Videography: Michael Field
Website: Gaurav Bradoo
Acknowledgment: Rajita Patel, Rahul Gandhi, James Ellis
Producer: Sudeepta Vyas
Production Assistants: Satya Akula, Zetin Moza
Directors: Amit Ohdedar & Margaret Mary Hollins
Assistant Director: Ahi Karunaharan
Rajita Patel, Rahul Gandhi, James Ellis
Image credits to Michael Field and Bhavnesh Soni