ASB Waterfront Theatre, 138 Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland
31/05/2019 - 02/06/2019
It’s time to take a step into the world of theatre and experience an Indian love story like no other.
Featuring a local cast and crew of dancers, actors and lovers of theatre, this Queens Birthday at ASB Waterfront Theatre, the international stage-spectacular, Meera, will be shown for the first time in New Zealand.
Meera is a celebration of tender love and smouldering passion, a unique love story which brings together hopeless romanticism, devotion and betrayal in an exploding culmination of colour and fantasy which is primed to take the Auckland by storm.
It showcases human emotions at its best and worst creating a cauldron of passion and treason. A whirlwind of love and betrayal which tugs at the heart strings and celebrates the triumph of goodness and tenderness of selfless love and sacrifice. This eternal love story set amidst the backdrop of mystical India brings to life images of beautiful Indian traditions, the pomp and splendour of the monarchy and epitomizes a divine and ethereal love.
A confluence between a theatrical and musical, Artistic director Aarti Bajaj, has conceived a truly unique cultural melting pot where dance styles like Jazz, Pole, Indian Classical, Ballet, contemporary, Aerial etc will be tempered with larger than life characters and soulful music which will twinge everyone’s heart.
This 16th century epic poetic story which will be adorned with the modern fabric of intelligent cinematography and latest technology is well set to become an epic stage show which will set ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland on fire. With a focus on more than love, theatre and culture, Meera brings diversity, creativity and passion to the stage for three days only.
Fri 31 May – 2pm, 7pm
Sat 1 June and Sun 2 June – 2pm, 6pm
EARLY BIRD $59.90 – 79.90
ADULT $ 59.90
SENIOR CITIZEN 65+ $54.90
FAMILY OF 4 (2 ADULTS MAX.) $50.00
CHILD 13 & UNDER $54.90
Aarti Bajaj - Meera
Paul Menezes - Krishna
Dylan Thuraisingham - Bhojraj
Marianne Infante - Uda Bai
Rishabh Kapoor- Vikram Singh
Amit Rathod - Ratan Singh
Joseph Tarei - King Duda
Lola Bicheno - Little Meera
Jeet Choudhary - Little Krishna
Vishwas Iyer - Teenage Krishna
Lila - Teenage Meera
Singer- Barbara Prestia
Aarti Bajaj - Artistic Director/Creator & Choreographer
Shagun Choudhary - Production Manager
Chamkaur Gill - Drama Consultant
Music - Ravi Chandra Kulur; Musing Productions; Mark Watson
Script Writers - Sue Den Besten, Kelly Joyce
Choreographers - Charu Chutani, Harsha Prakash, Isabella Cassidy, Lulu Qiu, Ollie Mathieson, Kelly Joyce, Candice Frankland
Costume design - Vaishanvi Jariwala
Fabric team - Omprakash Mundra, Devendra Singh
Makeup Director - Meenal Reedy
Photographer - Helen Helmeczy
Theatre , Musical ,
Review by Nicole Wilkie 01st Jun 2019
combination of traditional music, various dance styles, and a cinematic backdrop, this production explores love in its purest forms and shows the sacrifices one will make when they love someone completely and unconditionally.
We are introduced to the main concept of the show almost immediately, where a child Meera, born into royalty as a princess, discusses her love for the Hindu God Krishna with her mother. Meera and a young Krishna dance with one another, and though their dancing lacks some technical acuity, most likely due to their youth, they show obvious performance potential. Little Meera in particular, played by Ishani Wahegaonkar, does a fantastic job at portraying the young, precocious Meera who dreams of marrying Krishna.
One of the highlights of this production is the set design and costuming. So many beautiful swirling saris, and sparkles catching the light on almost every costume worn by the performers. The women wear gorgeous, dazzling diamond jewellery and the men are adorned with beautiful silk coats. The costuming really does add to the authenticity of the tale and helps the audience to feel as though they are indeed surrounded by Indian royalty. The backdrop supporting the work of the performers onstage is really quite stunning. The animations change frequently, effectively assisting the audience in their reading of the current temperament of the characters. When we meet teenage Meera and we see her love for Krishna is as strong as it has ever been, we are treated to a flowing animation of trees and falling leaves, birds and rabbits frolicking through a meadow, and clouds moving across the sky. Later, as Meera reluctantly consents to an arranged marriage with an Indian prince named Bhojraj, dark clouds and lightning fill the background, foreshadowing the unhappiness Meera and her husband will both suffer due to his unrequited love for her, and her longing for Krishna.
I thoroughly enjoyed the use of traditional Indian music alongside all of the dance styles featured in the show. We see classical ballet, a pair of aerialists suspended from hoops, jazz, contemporary and even pole dance all set to rich, exquisite traditional music. In my opinion, the best dance in this production is performed by pairs or small groups. Teenage Meera and teenage Krishna dance together in a contemporary-style duet where the training that both dancers have had is obvious, however, I feel that there was a lack of connection between the dancers. I commend the skill of the aerialists, contorting their bodies around their hoops and at one point hanging on by just an elbow! A particular highlight is when the curtains come down and rise again to reveal a pole being shared by two dancers, representing the emotional expressions of Meera and Krishna. These two dancers, Richard Glynn Owens and Brooke-Lin, show grace, strength, and vulnerability in their performance. They work together, around each other and the pole with coherence and the imagery works perfectly alongside Krishna and Meera dancing together and contemplating their love. Another highlight of the dance sections is the belly dance that happens towards the end half of the production. The dancers move with a hypnotic rhythm, with beautiful golden fabric emerging from behind them like wings, drawing patterns in the air. Suddenly, the dancers reveal a new silver pair of wings, lit up with fairy lights, and it is visually something to behold.
The choreography for the larger group pieces is well composed, though the dancers may have benefitted from a little bit more rehearsal, to resolve issues around timing and precise placement of limbs in space. However, considering the youth of these dancers, I feel that they perform their choreography well. Perhaps a little more eye contact with the audience and with each other would lift the performance quality even further.
Overall, the story is easy to follow and enjoyable. We see the young Meera grow and follow her through different stages of her life, into her adulthood. As she becomes an adult and is married to Prince Bhhojraj, we see her struggle with her love for Krishna that is not understood by society because he is a God. She also struggles with guilt due to the fact that she knows the prince loves her unconditionally. This leads to all sorts of trouble for her, as she is rejected by society and threatened by the prince’s family. I would like to commend in particular Marianne Infante for her portrayal of the prince’s sister, Uda Bai. She sets about plotting her revenge on Meera with the kind of humour that gets the whole audience cackling, and her embodiment of this character is a real stand out of the night.
Meera is certainly an entertaining large-scale production, and I congratulate the 150 cast and crew that brought the idea of Aarti Bajaj (adult Meera and artistic director) to life. The exploration of love of all kinds, from familial to plutonic to romantic, to irrational and inexplicable, is clear and relatable for all audience members. This performance is truly a melting pot of cultures and times and is humorous and entertaining.
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