Indian theater troupe will present two short plays on Oct. 29
A visiting performance troupe will stage a pair of short plays this weekend, with the two presentations drawing cultural connections to several of Radford University’s ongoing exhibits of Indian art.
The ICS Theatre, from New Brunswick, New Jersey, will present both “The Priest and the Prostitute,” a one-act comedy adapted from a 7th-century Sanskrit farce, as well as the sci-fi-tinged drama “The Girl Who Touched the Stars.”
Those will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Davis Performance Hall in the Covington Center. Admission is free.
Each production runs approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by an after-show discussion with the crew and the troupe’s 14 actors, some of whom appear in both plays.
“The Girl Who Touched the Stars” follows astronaut Bhavna Patel, an American of Indian origin, who’s in the process of leading a team toward Mars when she encounters a mysterious and strangely familiar individual. This production is directed by its playwright, Mahesh Dattani.
“The Priest and the Prostitute” is a rare Sanskrit play that blends levity with serious dilemmas, music and dance.
“Essentially, it’s a folktale and more of a comedy,” Theatre and Cinema Department Chair Rich Dunham explained. “A young man is indebted to a guru who’s trying to teach him the right ways of living … but he gets distracted by a young woman.”
Dunham said the ICS’s visit is presented by the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the Radford University Art Museum to complement a linked series of exhibits, currently held on campus and elsewhere around the New River Valley, that focus on the Dalit community from North India’s Mithila region.
One of those, “Martine Le Coz,” is underway at Radford University Art Museum’s Tyler Gallery through Nov. 18. Another, “Raja Salhesh’s Garden: Contemporary Dalit Art & Ancient Myths of Mithila, India,” remains on display at Radford’s Covington Gallery through Dec. 3. Additional venues in the series include the Floyd Center for the Arts and Blacksburg’s Miller-Off-Main gallery. A Sept. 11 editorial in The Roanoke Times examined them as a whole and deemed them “history-making.”
The ICS Theatre, an offshoot of the Indian Cultural Society of East Brunswick, is a performance group that “seeks to provide high-quality, entertaining, and educational experiences to the local and global community,” according to its founders.
“We’re able to present two entirely different plays that we’ve done, and they showcase the talents of the actors and bring something very diverse for the audience,” Barkha Kishnani, the ICS Theatre’s artistic director, said last week.