A political play for election season

Not all politics is serious, and the Auckland Indian theatre company Prayas is this month presenting a play mixing laughter, dance, music and a gentle political point -- the Kingdom of Cards (Tasher Desh).

The Kingdom of Cards promotional poster.The play uses humour and satire to make a point or two about freedom and choice.

The staging of Kingdom of Cards is Prayas' way of honouring the 150th anniversary of playwright and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). A man of many plays and poems, Tagore is fondly remembered in South Asia, not least because he wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

Tagore wrote Kingdom of Cards as an attack against the social stigma, prejudices and bigotry present in the political landscape of his time. It is more than that though – Kingdom of Cards is critical of all totalitarian and undemocratic regimes.

The play is a colourful music and dance comedy that tells the story of a prince who wants to be free from the burden of a lavish but boring life. He sails off with a merchant friend to seek adventure and challenge in unknown lands.

In Alice in Wonderland-style, he ends up in a childlike world where everyone is a card character. The people live a stilted life and are guided by rules and the hierarchy of cards.

With romance, music and laughter, the prince changes lives.

The Prayas theatre company involves players and crew of many different ethnicities, and was initially set up to each year present a play to present in English the works of noted Indian playwrights.

Kingdom of Cards is directed by Amit Ohdedar and choreographed by Jason Moore, and is showing at TAPAC in Western Springs from November 24 to 27.

This production was partly funded by an arts grant from Asia:NZ.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2012