Presented by Apsaras Arts Dance Company in collaboration with Wild Rice
“He wept for living. And seeing the day they had to leave, he wept for himself. For never again would he have a family. A home. And someone to love him as much as they did. He wept because god had forsaken him. And never again would he be that same little boy.”
Apsaras Arts and Wild Rice take storytelling to new heights with Agathi, which movingly examines the lives and plights of refugees through a unique fusion of theatre, poetry and the classical Indian dance of Bharatanatyam.
In this thrilling, inventive production, the refugee takes centre stage. Displaced for reasons of political turmoil or natural calamity, the refugee embarks on a journey to seek acceptance – rebuilding a life, a home and an identity, while battling prejudices and overcoming trauma.
Agathi draws inspiration from Apsaras Arts Artistic Director Aravinth Kumarasamy’s own experience as a refugee in his youth, as well as the lives of refugee children all over the world. Boldly reimagined in collaboration with Wild Rice’s Ivan Heng, Agathi poignantly shines a spotlight on the human beings who find themselves caught between countries and trapped in the headlines.
Following its premier at Esplanade’s Raga Series in 2017, Agathi has since toured the world, winning acclaim in the United Kingdom, France and India. This reimagined production will bring Bharatanatyam, the oldest classical dance tradition in India, to the rivetingly intimate stage of The Ngee Ann Kongsi Theatre for the first time.
Agathi was conceptualised and is directed by Aravinth Kumarasamy. It features choreography by Mohanapriyan Thavarajah, dramaturgy by Ivan Heng of Wild Rice and a narrative script by Audrey Perera with creative input from Alfian Sa’at. It draws inspiration from A Book of Poems: Expressions from our Youth, published in 2011 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The score incorporates Tamil poems by reputed poets Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi, Bharathi Dasan, Kavimani Desiga Vinayagam Pillai and Kaviarasu Kannadasan, as well as contemporary young poet Niranjan Bharathi.
Apsaras Arts Dance Company is the recipient of the National Heritage Board’s Intangible Steward of Cultural Heritage Award 2020.
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