Sheetal Gandhi Brings BAHU-BETI-BIWI to Theatre Raymond Kabbaz Tonight
Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz, the performance space at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, is pleased to present Bahu-Beti-Biwi, a stunning solo performance that weaves together dance, theatre, live singing and more, by multi-talented performer Sheetal Gandhi tonight, February 6, 2014.
Bahu-Beti-Biwi (Daughter-in-Law, Daughter, Wife), choreographed, written and directed by Gandhi, is a powerful work at the intersection of traditional Indian and contemporary Western cultures. The 50-minute performance mines Gandhi's own life in a commentary on the traditional roles of Indian women.
The performance starts at 7:30pm and will take place at Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz, 10361 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90064 (310-286-0553). Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased here. See more on TRK's event page here. For information about Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz, visit www.theatreraymondkabbaz.com.
"When I first saw this very special performance, I immediately knew I had to present it at our venue," says Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz Director Pierre Leloup, "Sheetal single-handedly fuses live percussive vocalizations, hip hop, humor, and more with her own personal experience, to create an unforgettable family of female characters."
In Bahu-Beti-Biwi, Gandhi mines the texts and subtexts of centuries-old North Indian women's songs to create an arresting vision of the generational shifts that are reshaping definitions of freedom and compromise, desire and longing, duty and love. The work simultaneously incorporates dance, theatre, live singing, costuming, props, a big dose of humor, and percussive text based on the language of the tabla (North Indian classical drum) into authentic movement that transitions one character to the next. A "pop-locking" bird transforms into an endearing auntie who nurtures through (over)feeding. The whining of an Indian-American teenage girl evolves into the slippery melody of a North Indian classical raga.
"Audiences have been surprised at how funny the work is, given how serious the subject matter is," says Gandhi, "Humor is a great way to access deep emotions - it's a powerful survival mechanism."
The piece, which began as a Master's project when Gandhi was a UCLA MFA student, glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance. Gandhi mines the old folk songs she sources to re-imagine the singers' lives by confronting them with women in her own 21st century life. Her characters, nine in all (one man and eight women), have conversations with each other across time and space, revealing complex generational and geographic tensions. In both form and content, this visceral work reflects Gandhi's love for tradition with her equally urgent desire to break from it. Bahu-Beti-Biwi has been presented in theaters from Norway to India and in over 15 cities in the U.S.
The original score for the work, created by Joseph Trapanese in collaboration with Gandhi, breaks down traditional folk song structures for very contemporary results. Gandhi and Trapanese met when they were both graduate students at UCLA. A producer of music for films, television, theater, and concerts, Trapanese is perhaps best known for his soundtrack collaborations with Daft Punk (Tron: Legacy), Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park (The Raid), M83 (Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and Oblivion), and Moby ("Extreme Ways" from The Bourne Legacy). Alongside Daniel Licht, he also produced and orchestrated the scores for seasons 3 and 4 of Showtime's original series Dexter, and provided orchestrations for seasons 5 and 6. Trapanese's music for the stage has been described as "precise and evocative" by the New York Times.
Bahu-Beti-Biwi Credits -
• Choreographed, Written, Directed & Performed by Sheetal Gandhi
• Music by Joseph Trapanese, featuring lok git (women's folk songs from North India)
• Music Produced by Joseph Trapanese & Sheetal Gandhi
• Lighting Design: Tony Shayne
• Costumes: Sheetal Gandhi & Camille Villanueva
Sheetal Gandhi - Sheetal Gandhi is an intercultural director/choreographer and performer. Her career has spanned genres and disciplines, including work as a creator and performer in Cirque du Soleil's Dralion; playing a leading role in the Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Bombay Dreams; dancing throughout Ghana with a traditional West African Dance Company; and singing with the New York based, all-female a cappella group, Anamcara. In 1995, Gandhi's love for rhythm and culture took her back to her roots for an extended time to study the North Indian classical dance form, Kathak. In exploring traditional forms of dance and music through decidedly postmodern compositional structures - all to comment on the social world in which we live - Gandhi's work references the past, grounds itself in the present, but comments on the possibilities of the future. Influenced by modern, jazz, Kathak and West African dance, as well as complex rhythmic structures, theatricality and singing, she crafts an evocative physical/vocal vocabulary.
Gandhi graduated with a BA in Dance and Psychology from UC Irvine, and received an MFA in Dance from UCLA in 2008. She is a recipient of a 2012-13 NDP Touring Award for Bahu-Beti-Biwi. She was also awarded a 2011 COLA Individual Artist Grant, the LA Dance Advance Grant, a 2012 Annenberg Community Beach House Artist Residency, and was a participating member of the 2012 Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) Program. Her passion for intercultural exchange has been supported by the 2010 Asia Pacific Performance Exchange (APPEX), a Cultural Exchange International (CEI) fellowship in Amsterdam, and an invitation to attend the Tanzmesse International Festival for Contemporary Dance in Dusseldorf, Germany. In Los Angeles, Gandhi has choreographed and collaborated with Cornerstone Theater, Dan Froot, Post Natyam, South Coast Repertory, and others. She offers master classes and coaching in modern/contemporary/jazz performance and technique, voice, character work, and rhythm. Plans for 2014 include Djerassi and Montalvo artist residencies where Gandhi will create new work that explores her personal, familial, and cultural relationship to unconditional love.
Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz - Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz (TRK) is a non-profit institution dedicated to the promotion of art and culture in the West Los Angeles area. This 220-seat theater welcomes multidisciplinary and multicultural shows. TRK's mission is to be an Open Window on French and international cultures and to inspire and sustain a lifelong appreciation for the arts.