UK-INDIA YEAR OF CULTURE SHOWCASE
THE TROTH - USNE KAHA THA
A story of love, loss and sacrifice in World War I.
IRISH PREMIERE - 5TH MARCH 2018 - THE MAC BELFAST
Part of UK-India Year of Culture & Reimagine India
Through powerful dance theatre, The Troth tells a story of love, loss and sacrifice against the backdrop of the horror and conflict of World War I. Inspired by film noir and the era of black and white films, The Troth weaves its poignant narrative through dance, music and film.
Based on Chandradhar Sharma Guleri’s iconic Hindi short story Usne Kaha Tha, The Troth is about one soldier, Sardar Lehna Singh, and the sacrifice he makes to keep his secret promise to an unrequited love whilst mid-conflict in the horror of the trenches of Belgium.
Over 1.3 million Indians contributed active service over the course of World War I and were the largest voluntary force ever assembled. Their losses were staggering. The Troth reveals the contribution and human cost of Indian soldiers to the allied war effort. British Armed Forces have advised the creative team on military training, movement, aesthetics and music of the period
Award-winning director and choreographer Gary Clarke is acclaimed for his compelling works of narrative dance theatre, most recently with COAL based on the miners’ strike. Clarke’s emotionally direct and physical approach to storytelling and character is notable in contemporary dance.
For The Troth he collaborates with dramaturg Lou Cope to tell the soldier’s story, using archive wartime footage and new subtitled films by Josh Hawkins to unfold the narrative. They set the scene for viscerally powerful dance from six dancers of diverse backgrounds and training within an evocative soundscape created by BASCA award-winner Shri Sriram who laces his original composition with sounds from World War I and Indian folk music.
The cast includes Kathak dancer Vidya Patel, finalist in BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 who has recently performed to great acclaim with Richard Alston Dance Company.
The Troth marks the centenaries of World War I (1914-18), Indian cinema (1913) and the first Hindi short story (1915). It is rooted in the most recent academic research and in-depth cultural exchange. Leading academics and experts who have contributed to the project are Amarjit Chandan (Poet and academic), Dr Santanu Das (literary specialist and historian at Kings College London specialising in World War I), Tripurari Sharma (Professor of Acting at the National School of Drama, Delhi) and Ashok Sagar Bhagat (Professor of Theatre Architecture at the National School of Drama, Delhi) and Jasdeep Singh (Community Curator, National Army Museum).
Mira Kaushik OBE, Director of Akademi, says: “Usne Kaha Tha is a classic of Hindi literature, loved by millions. Our production will be a powerful ‘living silent film’, and is Akademi’s first theatre show after nearly 20 years of primarily outdoor performances. This Indo-UK artistic collaboration has galvanised partners from both countries – including Arts Council England, British Council, the Government of India’s Ministries of Culture and External Affairs, and the British Army – to reveal the vital contribution made by Indian soldiers to World War I”.
Nisha Tandon OBE, Executive Director of ArtsEkta says: "We are delighted to present this compelling performance from Akademi to mark the UK-India Year of Culture locally here in Belfast. Akademi are the UK's pioneers of South Asian dance who push artistic boundaries and bring new, exciting works to audiences. I would like to thank the Arts Council and Belfast City Council for enabling us to bring this show to Belfast to celebrate our unique cultural links with India.
With generous support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland & Belfast City Council, tickets have been made free for this show and will be announced in the New Year.