MARA is a high-octane dance and musical theatre production that brings to life the diabolical character Mara from Buddhist lore, in a visually entrancing exploration of the human mind and all of its intricacies. Moving away from traditional plot structures, MARA explores the journey of the individual (Jeeva), as she negotiates the dangerous, dazzling maze that is the human mind (Mara). Mara, the demon who infamously attempted to entice Buddha, continues to distract humans from discovering what lies beyond worldly pleasures, the pursuit of true inner freedom. Can Jeeva break free from the chains that bind her to this world?
Stunning synchrony of movement by fourteen Indian classical dancers and boldly innovative live music– a powerful, heady mix of Indian ragas, brass band jazz, modern funk, and global rhythms – intersects with experimental staging, and multimedia projection by Emmy Award-winning Kate Johnson. The production blends original poetry with dance choreography by Mythili Prakash and music composed and performed by the 9-member Aditya Prakash Ensemble. MARA premiered at the Ford Amphitheatre’s summer series to a sold-out house of 1,200.
MARA brings together the depth of Eastern philosophy, aesthetics of Indian Classical arts, and dynamism of Western stagecraft and music. On a deeper level, MARA carries a message whose relevance traverses boundaries of culture, age, geography, and time. MARA is about life, perception, transformation, and self-discovery.
KRISHNAM VANDE JAGATH GURUM
This production is set against the backdrop of the Kurukshetra war, the scene of one of the greatest conversations in philosophical legend between Arjuna (the great warrior) and Krishna (one of India’s greatest prophets), known to us through the Bhagvad Gita. Arjuna, disillusioned, on the brink of war, seeks answers that Krishna provides through profound meditations on the journey of Self-discovery. Each dialogue between Guru and disciples sets the scene of episodes from Krishna’s own colorful life, where he brings to life his own teachings. Through the familiar and adored episodes of His life, Krishna a physical representation of Supreme Consciousness, manifests as child, lover, protector, and destroyer.
Commissioned by the Share and Care Foundation, Krishnam Vande Jagath Gurum, a full length group production featuring sixteen dancers and seven musicians premiered in New Jersey as a fundraiser.