A contemporary interpretation, the musical touches upon poignant moments from Meerabai’s life. The dialogues are in English and the original soundtracks include lesser-known compositions of the poet-saint.
Bhakti poet-saint Meerabai’s emotions are registered in songs. Director Srividya Varchaswi says, “Meera, to me, has always been an epitome of courage, strength, wisdom and unflinching devotion. There is an ethereal beauty to the way she looked at the situations in her life. She overcame many challenges with the effortless power of love and that I feel is something that people of every generation can learn from.” Varchaswi is bringing her muse on stage, in a production, titled Meera: The Musical, which involves 183 artistes and a production crew of 300 Art of Living volunteers.
A contemporary interpretation, the musical touches upon poignant moments from Meerabai’s life. The dialogues are in English and the original soundtracks include lesser-known compositions of the poet-saint. “We have historians DK Hari and Hema Hari, who have been guiding us in terms of historical aspects of the script. We also had connected with the locals of Mewar and Chittor, who helped us authenticate these works,” says the director.
Varchaswi is a veteran of directing mega productions. In 2015, she presented Cosmic Rhythm, a performance that involved 4,600 dancers from 45 countries and more than 30 dance forms. It is, possibly, the only dance drama with such numbers that was coordinated entirely via video conference without any live rehearsals as a group. To mark the International Yoga Day in 2015, she choreographed a performance, titled The Rhythm Within, using styles and dance forms from the East and the West and presented it at the Lincoln Centre, New York. “I prefer art that uplifts one’s state of mind. When you leave a performance, you should have a heart full and mind empty. I would invest my time in creating a performance that is thought silencing,” says Varchaswi.
Meera: The Musical will include dance forms such as Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Ghoomar and Gair besides lyrical yoga and other contemporary forms. The musical scores have been composed by musicians and singers of The Art of Living, such as KS Chithra, Bhanumathi Narasimhan, B Prasanna, Gautam Dabir, Sachin Limaye and Gayatri. “The music and pre-production of the play was where we indulged in time.We had to sit and discuss with each of the composers what mood we wanted and where we would be featuring each song. Working with different technicians, artistes, actors and dancers was quite energising as there were so many creative inputs that came along the way,” says Varchaswi.
She adds that the proceeds from the show will support the Gift a Smile Project. “The Gift a Smile project caters to children from difficult backgrounds or whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. Under Gift a Smile, 700+ schools across 20 states in India are providing free holistic education, mid-day meals, uniforms, to over 70,000 plus students, focusing specially on the girl child. We have children from these schools participating in the performance too,” she says.
The performance will be held at Bal Gandharva Rang Mandir on September 15, 6.30-8.30 pm.
Courtesy: The Indian Express