A Dance-Theatre Piece by Navtej Singh Johar
Support for making Charumathi Claire Singh came from the India Foundation for the Arts.
Charumathi Claire Singh is a dance-theatre piece that
weaves two narratives, one inspired by The Maids, a
play bu Jean Genet in which two maids engage in a daily ritual of impersonating
their madam while at the same time are plotting to kill her, and the
other based on a generic life-narrative of the devadasis, or
‘maids of the gods’ who were dedicated to serve in the temples
and remained the main repositories of dance and music for over centuries
in South India.
The work freely inter-mixes contexts, characters and texts; it ignores
the binaries of the sacred/profane, mundane/sublime, violent/beautiful, casual/extraordinary
in its search for a space for transformation. The maids seek release
and transformation through death; the devadasis transport themselves
to another world through sublime music. These transformations are the
prerogative of the marginalized few who are endowed with inherent capacities
of self-forgetfulness. Charumathi
Claire Singh assiduously locates itself in the margins and
challenges the possibility of self-forgetfulness, a prerequisite for
transformation, within the self-conscious, mainstream, middle-class
context. It also examines the choices male dancers make while taking
up classical dance today.
Concept and Choreography: Navtej Singh Johar
Performers: Navtej Singh Johar, Lokesh Bharadwaj, Sudeep Kumar
Carnatic Vocals: Sudha Raghuraman
Music: Kshetragya, Tanjore Quartet, Arvo Part, Andrea De Luca
& Lorenzo Bruscl
Backstage: Pragya Tewari
Photos: Anshuman Sen
Support for making Charumathi Claire Singh came from the India
Foundation for the Arts.