Nov 3 -29 ::Beneath the Banyan Tree

Theatre Direct opens season with sumptuous revival of critically acclaimed production for young people and families, Beneath the Banyan Tree

“A gorgeous presentation of Indian dance and fable that’s just so sumptuous. It’s really quite lovely, for adults, for kids, anyone.” – Garvia Bailey, CBC Radio

Theatre Direct is proud to open their 2009-2010 season with Emil Sher’s beautifully expressive play Beneath the Banyan Tree. A vibrant fusion of theatre and music as well as classical and contemporary Indian and Western-influenced dance, this award-winning play is choreographed by respected master bharatanatyam dance artist Lata Pada and directed by Artistic Director Lynda Hill. Beneath the Banyan Tree will be presented in Theatre Direct’s community venue, The Loop, from November 3 to 29. This production will also be touring to Calgary’s Y Stage at Vertigo Theatre Centre, from October 22 through to October 25, 2009.

Beneath the Banyan Tree tells the story of Anjali, a young girl who has moved to Canada from India. To cope with the challenges of trying to adjust to life in a new country, she draws comfort from her memories of India embodied by the spirit of the powerful banyan tree. Her rich imagination filled with the colourful animal characters from the Indian fables of the Panchatantra, whose teachings speak to the nature of friendship, give Anjali the strength to be herself.

How deep are your roots?
As deep as the deepest wells.
How long are your branches?
Long enough to reach you.
All the way from India?
All the way night and day.

This production, embraced by a cross section of audiences, was premiered in Toronto in 2005 at the Milk International Children’s Festival of the Arts. In Spring 2006 it then went on to tour throughout Ontario schools and venues including the National Arts Centre, Guelph’s River Run Centre and Kitchener’s Centre in the Square. In Fall 2006, the production was invited to Edmonton for an extremely successful run. Beneath the Banyan Tree gathered both Dora and Sterling Award nominations for Outstanding Production.

Featuring Sarena Parmar, one of stars of YTV’s new live action comedy How To Be Indie, as Anjali, Zain Kassam as Maitri, Winnipeg’s Tom Keenan as Mason and Bundar the Monkey, and Tanya Pillay as Ajji/ Skylar and Morni the Peacock.

Choreographer: Lata Pada; Associate Choreographer Nova Bhattacharya; Set & Costume Design: Cheryl Lalonde; Original Lighting Design: Michael Kruse; Composer & Sound Design: Edgardo Moreno; Stage Manager: Sarah Cutfield.

This production of Beneath the Banyan Tree is one of three distinct productions taking place in the UK, Toronto and Winnipeg. The roots of the Banyan Tree are indeed far-reaching!

Beneath the Banyan Tree

By Emil Sher with choreography by Lata Pada | Directed by Lynda Hill
For children ages 6 and up and families
November 3 – November 29, 2009
Media Opening: Tuesday, November 3 at 4:30 PM
Theatre Direct’s The Loop, Artscape Wychwood Barns |601 Christie Street, Studio 174 (Christie & St. Clair St. West)
Performances: Saturday at 2:00 and 4:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM
Tickets: $10 for all ages | $8 for Loop Members
Box office: Call 416.537.4191 or boxoffice@theatredirect.on.ca
www.theatredirect.on.ca

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