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Panelist

 

 

Farley Richmond  *  Usha Ganguli  * Sanjana Kapoor*  Sameera Lyengar  * Bina Sharif

 

Farley Richmond

Director of the Center for Asian Studies, University of Georgia

BiographyFarley Richmond

Farley Richmond is Professor of Theatre and Film Studies and Director of the Center for Asian Studies, University of Georgia. He has directed a wide range of Asian and western plays and musicals. Among his Asian production he lists, Sudraka’s The Little Clay Cart, Tendulkar’s Silence! The Court is in Session and Sakaram Binder, Karnad’s Hayavadana, Saktibadra’s Surpanakha, or the Amorous Demoness, and Mishima’s The Lady Aoi. Among some of his western productions are Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World, Miller’s The Crucible, Hwang’s M. Butterfly, Bernstein’s West Side Story, Bart’s Oliver!, and Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2006 he directed Mozart’s The Magic Flute for the Chicago Cultural Center incorporating conventions from Indian and Balinese theatre traditions. In 2002 The University of Michigan Press published his CD-ROM entitled, Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theater of India. His latest work on the gesture language in kutiyattam

 
 

Usha Ganguli

Usha Ganguly

Usha Ganguli has established herself as one of India's major directors, leading the theatre group Rangakarmee for over thirty one years now. Till today, she remains essentially an activist who loves to take on challenging subjects and seeks to grow in the process. Her artistic growth as a director has been rooted in a concern to react and respond to all those forces that inhibit humanity. Trained as a dancer in Bharatnatyam, she brings choreographic and physical skills to her work in theatre as director and actress, enriched by her scholarly and literary sensibilities and insights. This is evident in works like Mahabhoj (1984), Lok Katha (1987), Holi (1989), Court Martial (1991), Rudali (1992),

Himmat Mai (1998), Mukti (1999), Shobhayatra (2000), Kashinama (2003), and her latest trilogy woven around the life and works of Saadat Hasan Manto. Rangakarmee, the theatre group that she set up in 1976, remains the most active and prolific group performing in Hindi in India, travelling extensively through the country, with visits to Germany, USA, Pakistan and Bangladesh. She participated in South Asian Theater Festival, 2007 as a Director of most acclaimed production Rudali in Hindi. Her achievements in and contribution to Indian theatre have been recognized in the form of numerous awards, including the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1998), and several awards from the West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh State Academies. She is at present Member of the Executive Committee of the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, the West Bengal State Natya Akademi, the Society of the National School of Drama, and the Rabindra Bharati Court. Following an extensive professional graph in Kolkata, she recently retired from her position as Senior Lecturer in Hindi Language and Literature to devote her time entirely to theatre - her first love, to infuse new life into theatre, and to make it a true and sincere reflection of human life.

 

Sanjana KapoorSanjana Kapoor

Slender, delicately carved British features set apart Sanjana Kapoor from the milieu she lives in. Born to Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendall-Kapoor, Sanjana is the youngest and the only daughter of the actor couple's three children. Sanjana's brothers, Kunaal and Karan did short, unsuccessful stints in films and modeling respectively.

Sanjana belonged to the veteran film family of India and her mother an actress herself, was deeply rooted in English theatre. Inevitably, Sanjana first faced the camera as a thirteen-year-old Jennifer in the classic 36 Chowringhee Lane some 20 odd years ago. She slipped into celluloid again as a heroine opposite Naseeruddin Shah in an inconsequential film called 'Hero Hiralal'.

The girl had a flair for expression but cinema, probably, wasn't her medium. Sanjana's western looks and an anglicized accent were her stumbling blocks. She was intelligent enough to realize that and did not waste time pursuing a career in Hindi films. Instead she set out to revive the Prithvi Theatre, the dying model of her grandfather Prithvi Raj Kapoor.

That was when Sanjana really began to explore her options. Her love for theatre was natural, and she decided to consolidate her hold over it through Prithvi. It is almost ten years now that Sanjana is actively associated with Prithvi theatres. Travelling with Indian troupes to foreign shores, inviting artistes from abroad to perform in India, holding the Prithvi festival regularly, intermittently hosting shows for respectable television channels in India.

The Kapoor girl currently is working on a theatre workshop for children. Looking serene, decked in a mish-mash of westwear complimented with Indian accessories, Sanjana says: ''I love theatre because it gives me an opportunity to travel and interact with people. I was just looking for that kind of life.'

 

Sameera IyengarSameera Iyengar

Math major Sameera Iyengar '93 initially took a theater course just to fulfill the MIT humanities elective—but her work with Michael Ouellette, now director of theater, changed her focus. "I still loved math," she says, "but the kick I got from theater was something else!" After MIT, she earned a PhD in theater at the University of Chicago, where she focused on contemporary theater in India. "I had a glorious time traversing various Indian cities, towns, and villages—watching theater, meeting artists, getting a sense of how theater worked in this diverse and large country," she says.

Iyengar hasn't left the theater since. For the past four years, she's worked with Mumbai's Prithvi Theatre, a premier venue that runs an annual festival; she's now the creative director. "It's a dream job for me," she says. She is also involved with Prithvi's summertime workshops for children. There, she says, "we're not so much interested in imparting professional skills as in sharing the process of the arts, opening the doors of creativity and imagination, making them fall in love with theater—thereby building future audiences for it." Recently, Iyengar's theater life and her MIT ties reconnected. "Last winter, Nachiket Mor of ICICI Bank e-mailed that the MIT-India program wanted to collaborate with Prithvi—were we interested?" she says. "I was, naturally, thrilled! MIT's attitude of thinking out of the box, taking the risk to follow a new idea, and doing what it takes for a project is very much in keeping with the way we work." The two institutions' goals fit together, she says: "The fact that MIT's theater department is not about creating theater professionals but about sharing the strengths of theater with people who will, by and large, go into other fields is also very important." Iyengar grew up in Calcutta participating in swimming, golf, and other sports. Now she lives with her partner in Mumbai, and she's an avid soccer player. She maintains close friendships with her peers from Epsilon Theta and the MIT theater community. "MIT remains my special place," she says.

 

Bina Sharif

Bina Sharif

Bina Sharif has produced over twenty plays in the United States, Europe, and Pakistan, including, most recently, "Afghan Woman," a response to the Iraq war. She is the author of the highly-acclaimed play "My Ancestor's House," published in the anthology Contemporary Plays by Women of Color. Her new dramatic monologue about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto debuted at the famous Nomad Gallery in Islamabad. Her new work in progress, "The Missing Scenes," was read at the Theater for the New City in April. As an actress she has performed in both her own plays and in works by others, and has worked with Fernando Arabal, Maria Irene Fornes, and Robert Patrick. She is the recipient of grants from Franklin Furnace, the NYSCA, and Theater for The New City, which produced seventeen of her plays. Her visual works examine the turmoil and hope of living as a woman in Islam, an artist in America, and a Pakistani American in the post 9/11 world. Sharif lives and works in New York. Ms. Sharif has an M.D. from Pakistan and has a Masters degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

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News

 
 

SATF 2009 will be held at NJPAC, New Jersey on December 12th and 13th 2009

 
   
 
 

Schedule

 
 
Venue NJPAC – Victoria Theater
12th December 2009

7:45pm - Opening Ceremony
8:30pm - Red Oleanders

13th December 2009

3:15pm - Chehre
5:00pm - Post performance discussion

 
   
 
 
 

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