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Indian theatre comes to town - ‘Charandas Chor’

Indian theatre comes to town - ‘Charandas Chor’, a contemporary Indian classic comes to captivate Auckland audiences

- The enigmatic thief is here to steal your heart and open your eyes -

Auckland, October 2005: Auckland audiences are in for a treat. ‘CHARANDAS CHOR’, a delightful, entertaining and powerful Indian play opens at the Centennial Theatre, Auckland Grammar School at 8.00 p.m. on Friday 14th October. It has repeat performances at 8.00 p.m. on Saturday 15th October and at 5.00 p.m. on Sunday 16th October. It is a contemporary Indian classic by noted playwright Habib Tanvir. ‘Charandas Chor’ has earlier been performed very successfully all over India. It won a top award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tanvir is known for bridging the Indian classical and the folk theatre traditions with Brechtian or other modern western techniques. The content however is contemporary and relevant to common people.

It is a play based on a folk tale that stands on a world turned upside down. It is about a thief who is deified by the people for his ‘honesty’. Charandas the ‘chor’ (thief) lives by duping, robbing and dodging the law. Despite this he is a man of principles, kind hearted and with a strong sense of social justice – a man of his word. Caught in a critical situation, he had taken some vows, almost off-hand, before a priest. Amazingly, he lives up to them and ultimately dies because of them. Through Charandas’ exploits and tribulations the play reveals the farcical and travesty in established institutions like religion, the state and class hierarchies. His acts show up existing social order as disorder and challenge popular value systems. The play employs the principle of ‘multiple consciousness’ as in Shakespearean drama or ‘complex seeing’ as in Brecht’s plays. The mood of the play is celebratory rather than ironic - a celebration of the people and their desire for truth and justice. The presentation of Charandas Chor is simple and austere but spans a rugged landscape on multiple levels.

All the founder members of Prayas said, “This has been a great experience for us. We hope Prayas goes on to being a catalyst for bringing together people from different communities in enjoyable creative pursuits.”

The play promises to provide an evening of entertainment through comedy, rhythmic folk tunes and dances. This play is directed by Amit Ohdedar for Prayas, a non-profit Indian organisation in its attempt to bring quality Indian fare for audiences in New Zealand.

- END -

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