India gets cooler everyday. Not to us; we might still be running helter skelter to get away. But our traditions and history have held deep fascinations for the theatric West, now more so than ever.
After rumours of staged versions of Monsoon Wedding and Bend It Like Beckham being on the cards, all have been preceded by the resurrection of Satyagraha, an opera written by Phillip Glass in 1979, originally under commission from the Netherlands Opera.
The play has three acts and Bhagwad Gita references, with Sanskritized songs to boot, which might just have made it too authentic for the lay Indian.
But we’ll recognize the stories alright, as the play traces the evolution of Gandhian principles of non-violence and peaceful rebellion during the start of the Mahatma’s anti-imperialistic struggles in South Africa.
The show has been shown and well received the world over, though most of us had been more or less oblivious to it. Its freshest lease of life comes after New York Metropolitan Opera decided to feature the show during their Fall 2011 theatre season.
Philip Glass definitely put in a lot of time and research into this project, giving him an eagle eye’s view of Gandhi’s unique modus operandi. “Almost all techniques of protest – now the common currency of contemporary political life – were invented and perfected by Gandhi during his South African years”, concludes the master playwright.
This is the second time the NY Metropolitan Opera will be hosting this composition. Tickets are being sold at: