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Divided Together: Hayavadana

Production Ensemble 2010

The Swarthmore College Department of Theater’s Production Ensemble presents:

Divided Together: Hayavadana by Girish Karnad
Fri, March 26, 2010 at 8 pm
Sat, March 27, 2010 at 3 pm (ASL-interpreted) and 8 pm
Sun, March 28, 2010 at 3 pm
Frear Ensemble Theater
Lang Performing Arts Center


Divided Together: Hayavadana by Girish Karnad is a play with songs that centers on a young woman in love with her brainy husband’s sexy best friend. When their heads are switched, the central question of the play becomes: which man is her husband, the one with his head, or the one with his body? Divided Together: Hayavadana is a surreal love story about the head/body divide (in its many manifestations), about the quest for perfection, and about the need to accept people for who they really are.

Members of the deaf community are invited especially to the Saturday matinee performance, which will be interpreted in American Sign Language by Doreen DeLuca and colleague.

Assistant Professor Erin B. Mee directs the production, with sets and costumes designed by Assistant Professor Laila Swanson, lighting designed by James P. Murphy, and original music composed by Daniel Perelstein ’09. The ensemble features Katie Becker ‘10, Rebecca Contreras ’13, Melissa Cruz ‘10, Nia Gipson ‘10, Vianca Masucci ‘13, Regina Noto ‘12, Cathy Park ‘13, Watufani Poe ‘13, and John Simon ‘12.

Girish Karnad is one of India’s most important modern playwrights. His plays are produced at major theatres and colleges all over India, as well as in theatres abroad. His plays, in addition to Hayavadana, which he wrote in 1971, include Yayati (named for a character from the Mahabharata; 1961), Tughlaq (about Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq; 1964), Naga-Mandala (Play with a Cobra; 1988), Tale-Danda (Death by Beheading; 1989), Agni Mattu Male (The Fire and the Rain; 1993), The Dreams of Tipu Sultan (1997), Bali, The Sacrifice (2000), Flowers (2004), and Broken Images (2005). His numerous awards include a Homi Bhabha fellowship, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya Award, the Padma Shri, the Padma Bushan, and the Bharatiya Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary award.

Erin B. Mee has directed at some of this country’s most important theatres, including New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, and The Magic Theatre. In India she has directed two productions with Sopanam, one of India’s leading companies. She has written a book about modern Indian theatre called "The Theatre of Roots: Redirecting the Modern Indian Stage," and has edited a collection of plays called DramaContemporary:India. For the department, Mee has directed Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's Savage/Love (2004), Robert Auletta's modern adaptation of The Persians (2005), Charles Mee's Big Love (2006), and Manjula Padmanabhan's Harvest (2005) in a co-production with East Coast Artists.

Laila Swanson received an MFA in Set Design with a minor in Costume Design from Temple University in 1994. She has worked as costume and set designer for productions in Scandinavia as well as in the US., and is Visiting Assistant Professor of Design and Resident Costume and Set Designer for the Theater Department.

James P. Murphy received his BA in Technical/Design Theater from SUNY at Albany in 1981. Since then he has worked as a technical director, production manager, lighting and sound designer throughout the Northeast. He is the Resident Lighting Designer for the Dance Program at Swarthmore, as well as the Theater Department's Lighting Design Instructor.

The performances are free and open to the public without advance reservations. For more info contact Liza Clark at or call (610) 328-8260.

Katie Becker '10 (Padmini), Rebecca Contreras '13 (Chorus), Johnny Simons '12 (Kapila), Catherine Park '13 (Chorus), Nia Gipson '10 (Chorus), Jeanie Noto '12 (Chorus), Watufani Poe '13 (Devadatta), Vianca Masucci '13 (Bhagavata), Photo by Steve Weinik.

Watufani Poe '13 (Devadatta), Katie Becker '10 (Padmini). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Watufani Poe '13 (Devadatta), Katie Becker '10 (Padmini). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Jeanie Noto '12 (Doll), Nia Gipson '10 (Doll). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Watufani Poe '13 (Devadatta), Katie Becker '10 (Padmini), Johnny Simons '13 (Kapila). Photo by Steve Weinik.

Katie Becker '10 (Padmini), Rebecca Contreras '13 (Chorus), Johnny Simons '12 (Kapila), Catherine Park '13 (Chorus), Nia Gipson '10 (Chorus), Jeanie Noto '12 (Chorus), Watufani Poe '13 (Devadatta), Vianca Masucci '13 (Bhagavata), Photo by Steve Weinik.

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