Shakespeare’s greatest plays are full of huge, powerful stories such as the intrigue of succession after a king dies (“Hamlet” and others), great love which transcends death (“Romeo and Juliet”), or love which erupts out of the passion of hate and hurt (“The Taming of the Shrew”). He also writes of beings with supernatural powers (The Tempest and others). So it is with the classic Indian epic of “Mahabarata”—love, valor, jealousy, hate, politics and war are all presented in the clash of amazing and memorable characters.
Prabir Das, Mason resident, playwright, actor, and director, has taken these 3000 year old characters and fleshed them out in his play DURYODHANA THE UNCONQUERABLE which will have its world premiere at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival June 1-11, 2016.
His 60-minute play shows Prince Duryodhana, the proud son of an abdicated king, who fought not only for his rightful realm after his king and uncle, dies, but he fights for the love of a beautiful foreign princess he abducted many years before.
Das envisions the wife, Bhanumati, as one of the initial feminists with a zeal for freedom of rights for herself as well as for all other women. Though it was not uncommon during that era to abduct women to marry, Bhanumati finds this practice unloving and demeaning. However, she kept Duryodhana captivated, as she internally struggled to find the strength to voice her true feelings.
“The passion in the story is universal” says Das, who grew up listening to these epics and reports all people from India know these stories. “I want Americans to meet these characters who are proud and powerful, and amazingly interesting, like Antony and Cleopatra, or Kate and Petrucchio.”
Das has written the script and is also one of the founders of All Shades Theatre. This non-profit is dedicated to bridging the theatrical gap between East and West. “Indian stories can be told with actors of any background, they do not have to be just the stories of India, but of all humanity,” shares Das. “All people are interested in valor and virtue, in love and honor, politics and power.”
Das has collected a team of local artists, all with a connection to Northern Kentucky University. Professor Darryl Harris is directing, and alumni Taylor Greatbatch and Katie Eichler are performing. Tyler Gabbard, NKU SOTA Publicity Manager is scenic designer, alum Bryce Liebert is lighting designer, and current NKU student Amanda Miller is Stage Manager.
DURYODHANA THE UNCONQUERABLE will be performed at the Art Academy, June 1 and 11 at 7:25 pm, and June 2 and 8 at 8:25 pm and June 4 at 4:00 pm. Single tickets and day passes to the Fringe Festival can be purchased at www.cincyfringe.com.
All Shades Theater ● P.O. Box 1224 Mason, OH. 45040 ● (513) 913-5153 ● email@example.com