SETU Presents Mahabharata-Based Play Andha Yug: The Age of Darkness

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By Ronita Panda & Yogita Miharia

For those familiar with the intense long epic based on Hindu mythology Mahabharata know it touches on the profound ends of human relationships and how they are conveniently sacrificed to greed for power, prosperity & political manipulations.

Between a manipulated victory over the invincible warriors on one side or ensuring good wins over the evil by hook or crook to set the right example for generations ahead – who really WON after losing those loved ones of many? There wasn’t one character who could clearly stand on white or black side of ethical morality – what made Mahabharata relatable was the gray in even who was deemed Godly by the mere mortals.

Andha Yug is one of the most significant plays of modern India – the intense post war emotional upheaval experienced by the characters left to mourn their losses. Written by Dharamvir Bharati, immediately after the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the play is a powerful and disturbing narrative that explores the dark side of human nature. It is a transformational journey that teaches us to think before engaging our energies in the current state of warring world affairs, the dangers of hate, violence and aggressive selfhood.

Andha Yug or dark age, navigates the harrowing sights of the aftermath of Mahabharata, a war between Kauravas & Pandavas who were connected by royal blood lines & desires to rule Hastinapur dynasty, but very distinct in their existence, wedged by distrust, delusions, and built-up disgust for each other. After 18 days of intense blood shedding, both conquered & defeated survivors were left with insanity & enormous guilt.

Be it Sanjaya, Vidura, Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Yuyutsu, Kritavarma, Kripacharya, Ashwatthama, Dharmaraj Yudhishthira, the insignificant soldiers or mundane dwellers of the kingdom, the very righteous Balarama or even The Lord Himself – Krishna, could not be on perfect side of ethical morality. None who witnessed the destruction could ever live happily after, the only end to this commotion was death – either self-willing or someone’s killing!

Andha-yug unfolds the thought provoking & heart wrenching emotional struggles & dilemma of what remains. It’s a blemished depiction from a complex analysis of the epic’s characters, and twisted choices, they made. After losing the battle of Kurukshetra, the few survivors of the Kaurava clan were overcome with rage driven by grief. Gandhari’s desire to seek revenge allowed the release of the ultimate weapon, the brahmastra, that has the potential to annihilate the world. She was a mere mortal who wanted to pin the blame on someone, so she blamed and cursed the Lord Krishna himself for causing the war.

Lord Krishna left the earth. The age of darkness had seeped into every soul. Kaliyug had started. Does that mean there was no savior of mankind?

There will be four shows, each with multiple story telling mediums: A strong double cast will bring these powerful dynastic characters to life, along with dancers, narrators and chorists. An all-male cast, Purush, portrays 15 Pandava and Kaurava males and their allies with Gandhari being played by the only female actress. This, however, is “flipped” in the second all-female cast (Naaree) in which the sole female character is portrayed by a male actor.

The venue is Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, MA. You can purchase your tickets at:

www.setu.us

A production like this cannot be possible without the contribution of many. See below for the complete cast and crew:

 

Double Casts
Characters Cast NAAREE

Fri Sept 29th 7pm

Sat Sept 30th 7pm

Cast PURUSH

Sat Sept 30th 3pm

Sun Oct 1st 3pm

Ashwatthama Gitanjali Srivastava Subrata Das (CT)
Balarama Mukta Munjal Saurabh Moondhra
Dhritarashtra Meghna Karody Dheeraj Prasad
Gandhari Ketan Dave Tanni Chaudhuri
Guard 1 Jyothsna Luckshetty Guru Anandh
Guard 2 Priyanka Banerjee Gautam Prabhugaonkar
Kripacharya Prerna Mathur Nikhil Bhatia
Krishna Sirisha Viswanadha Ujwal Wasekar
Kritavarma Monisha Vaish Ravi Kacker
Mendicant Chandrala Malkood Bhavesh Sharma
Mute Soldier Tanni Chaudhuri Ketan Dave
Sanjaya Sugandha Gopal Rohit Chandra
Vidura Swapneel Batra Manish Dhall
Vyasa Parul Kumar Ajay Rathi
Yudhishthira Shailini Sisodia Rishi Naik
Yuyutsu Yogita Miharia Nilay Mukherjee
Dance team Ekta Jain (lead), Devishi Jain, Reeth Malhotra, Sara Chheda, Esha Jana, Samaira Chheda, Tavishi Saxena, Trisha Veetil, Geetanjali Virmani, Rampriya Sundaramoorthy, Naavya Gupta, Nishtha Saxena, Pallavi Gupta, Viral Dave, Seema Arora, Sirisha Viswanadha
Narrators & Chorists Jayanti Bandyopadhyay (lead), Ananya Chatterjee, Mukta Munjal, Rajeev Nohria, Rohan Narain, Rimi Sarkar Das, Ronita Panda, Saurabh Moondhra, Smriti Thakur Jayakumar, Sunil Soni, Vivek Nair

 

Original Hindi Playwright: Dharamvir Bharati

Translation to English : Alok Bhalla

Casting & Direction: Subrata Das

Social Media Publicity: Smriti Jayakumar, Dipali Trivedi, Ravi Nimmagadda and Yogita Miharia

Lights and Sound: Arti Arora, Deven Atnoor and Prateek Paul

Costume Design: Jayanti Bandyopadhyay

Posters and Pictures: FotuDuniya (Vasudha Kudrimoti and Sanjay Kudrimoti)

Facility Partner: Academy of Creative Arts

SETU, a local non-profit organization founded in 2003, 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”, “Kamala”, “The Fire and the Rain”, “Devdas”, “Seven Steps around the Fire”, “Kanyadaan” and more.

The year 2023 is the 20th anniversary of SETU, that is being commemorated with a variety of productions. Andha Yug being the second production of the anniversary play.

Visit www.setu.us to learn more about SETU’s productions.

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