On Popular Demand, SETU to Re-Run “The Fire and the Rain” Play With 28 All-Female Cast and Dancers on Sept. 22-23 in Belmont

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BELMONT, MA–On a popular demand, the Stage Ensemble Theater Unit (SETU) is re-running Girish Karnad’s classic play “The Fire and the Rain” in English with 28 all-female actors and dancers on Sept. 22-23 at Belmont Town Hall Theater in Belmont, MA.

This classic play was earlier produced and staged by earlier this year by SETU on April 27, 28, 29 at the beautiful Belmont Town Hall Theater. Ticket price is $20 per person. You can buy tickets atwww.setu.us

(On Oct. 26, SETU will be honored with New England Choice Awards at Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA, for their contribution to theater and art.)

Subrata Das, director of the play, said told INDIA New England News that the play is being restaged because of popular demand.

“If a production quality is good then many get to hear only after the show. The Fire and The Rain was an excellent experimental production and a lot of people wanted to see. Hence the rerun,” Mr. Das said. “Also, the actors involved get another chance to practice their skills on stage in front of real audience.”

He said the play has a large cast and a change in cast is inevitable when restaging the play.

“But, fortunately only a handful couldn’t accommodate into their schedule – one actor and a couple of dancers,” Mr. Das said. “We have two shows this weekend at Belmont Town Hall Theater – Saturday, Sep 22 at 6:00 pm and Sunday, Sep. 23 at 2:00 pm.”

Karnad’s classic play “The Fire and the Rain” illuminates age-old human relationships with gods, rituals and sacrifices, the complex societal order of the Indian caste system, some very rigid traditions and dark moments in the human lives. This original drama with mostly male characters will be enacted by only female actors.

These roles depict aggressive, violent and destructive characteristics that are naturally and easily accepted in men. But everything changes when they are rendered by female actors. Male-chauvinism performed by women will bring to the audience’s attention the unspeakable behavior that is often accepted as norm in Indian society. It comes as a shock to see these male patterns enacted by women.

As an experimental production featuring an “all-female” cast, the play is not about women pretending to be men. Rather, it is about giving women the opportunity to take on roles that were created for male actors depicting predatory, abusive and savage behavior.

Why does performing a fire sacrifice to invoke the Lord Indra of rain become so twisted? Karnad’s classic play, The Fire and the Rain, tells us a story that is intensely embedded in ancient mythology from the Mahabharata time, the symbolism at many levels liberates us from shackles of the present society.  The Fire and The Rain abounds the riches of psychology, negative and positive human emotions, the aversion and the jealousy of man against man, father against son, wife against husband, high caste against low caste people, man against god, hate against love, the fire against the rain and passion against the truth.

On one hand there is abundance of jealousy, betrayal, deceit and ego, whereas on the other there is purity of selfless love and sacrifice. The protagonist Brahmin Arvasu is a man torn between moral righteousness, love and duty. His lover Nittilai who is from a lower caste cannot understand Brahmins and their secrets when all she can think of is looking for real solutions for everyday matters. Arvasu’s elder brother Paravasu (the character I am portraying) is driven by his quest for Lord Indra, while his wife Vishakha is left behind with her pangs of isolation and separation. And many more such characters that have their own quests that result in very complex emotions and behaviors.

SETU, a local non-profit organization that has staged several successful productions in the past, some being “Rape, Regret and Retribution”, “Hayavadana”, “Shah Jahan”, “Mahabharata”, “Once Upon a Time NOT in Bollywood”, “Ramayana” and “Kamala”. Visit www.setu.us to learn more about SETU’s productions.

SETU , a 501(c)(3) non-profit theater group in the Boston area founded in 2003, means “bridge” in several Indian languages and its mission is to build bridges between Indian and Western cultures through the medium of theater.

All-Female Cast … (in order of appearance)

The King                                                          Shubha Vijayesh

Paravasu                     The Chief Priest           Yogita Miharia

The Brahma Rakshasa  A demon soul               Rohini Pola

The Courtier                                                    Mala Krishnamurthy

Priest One                                                        Vasudha Kudrimoti

Priest Two                                                        Rakhee Wagal

Priest Three                                                     Madhu Mathur Anand

The Actor-Manager                                          Gunjan Kuthiala

Manager’s Brother                                           Japneet Kwatra

Arvasu                         Paravasu’s Brother       Shamita Behl

Nittilai                          A hunter girl                 Ishita Rao

Andhaka                      Yavakri’s servant         Ananya Chatterjee

Vishaka                        Paravasu’s wife            Monisha Prakash

Yavakri                        Paravasu’s cousin         Sugandha Gopal

Raibhya                       Paravasu’s father          Kumkum Pareek Malik

Nittilai’s Brother                                              Ridhima Mahajan Bhuttan

Nittilai’s Husband                                            Dipali Trivedi

Villagers                                                          Pallavi Gupta and dancers

Lead Choreographer    ……..   Vasudha Kudrimoti

Modern Dance Lead     ……..   Pooja Tiwari

Priest Dance Lead        ……..   Vasudha Kudrimoti

Hunter Dance Lead      ……..   Shikha Bajpai

Dancers  :         Swasti Bhargava, Pallavi Gupta, Vasudha Kudrimoti, Ridhima Mahajan Bhuttan, Purbi Rana, Nishtha Saxena, Shweta Shangari, Pooja Tiwari, Shubha Vijayesh, Rakhee Wagal.

Crew :

Playwright                            ……..     Girish Karnad

Marketing, Tickets &          ……..     Nirmal Kumar (lead), Gunjan Malhotra, Kumkum

Sponsorship                                         Pareek Malik, Yogita Miharia, Ravi Nimmagadda,

Rekha Palriwala, Rohini Pola, Dhanashree

Ramachandran, Purvi Shah, Dipali Trivedi

Web Publicity                      ……..     Ravi Nimmagadda (lead), all of SETU

Costumes                               ……..     Noorain Buxamusa (lead), Jayanti Bandyopadhyay,

Viprali Bhatkar, Janique Choux-Das

Makeup                                 ……..     Susmita Ghosh, Sumalita Bhuyan,

Gopika Narula

Music                                     ……..     Pradeep Ramachandran (lead),

Madhu Mathur Anand

Lighting                                ……..     Prateek Paul (lead), Marcus Hatch

Sound                                    ……..     Ravi Nimmagadda, Prateek Paul

Stage                                      ……..     Rohini Pola (lead), Deven Atnoor, Janique

Choux-Das, Sanaa Kazi, Mala Krishnamurthy,

Nilay Mukherjee, Rishi Naik, Sridhar Pola,

Gautam and Jayanti Bandyopadhyay

Core Production                 ……..     Jayanti Bandyopadhyay, Subrata Das

Patrons Welcome                 …….      Rohit Chandra, Janique Choux-Das, Jyoti Justin,

Nirmal Kumar, Nilay Mukherjee,

Rishi Naik, Rekha Palriwala, Purvi Shah

Posters                                   ……..     Kabita Das, Manreet Kwatra, Dhanashree

Ramachandran, Harun Razith

Photography & Video        ……..     Sanjay Kudrimoti (lead), Krishan Aneja,

Ganesh Davuluri, Fotu Dunya, Abhinay Burra


Special Thanks                     ……..     India Association of Greater Boston, India

New Engalnd News, Lokvani, Central Square

Theater, Belmont Plymouth Church, Juliet


Direction                               ……..     Subrata Das.



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