Ingrid Bonta’s THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS (BARBARIAN NIGHTS)

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Director: Ingrid Bonta
Group: Theatre Coquette, Romania
Language: Romanian
Duration: 1 hr 20 mins

The Play & Director’s Note
We have decided to approach the classical Thousand and One Nights with a contemporary eye and abstract theatrical techniques (dance, physical expressions etc.). It is a delicate, yet intense performance. Scheherazade is the only woman to have become the wife of cruel and feared Shahriar, of her own free will and choice. The main question was ‘why is she sacrificing herself?’, ‘does she run willingly in the arms of Death?’ But there is more to her than the first sight. She is no martyr nor does she want to become one. Just like the mythical Sheherazade takes the cruel tyrant on a journey of fantasy and imagination through unknown worlds – in which the extremes of the human soul entwine like the lights and shadows of the Yin and Yang- we wish to take the audience through 1001 states of mind, 1001 fantasies, 1001 mysteries – only to come to the thought that wisdom and love can conquer it all, even cruelty. Theatrical dance, gracefully mastered by the two actors’ body expressions, gets more intense as the story starts to unravel and makes the invisible seen to the audience: their bond grows stronger. With only two actors, the play focuses on the male and female harmony, emphasizing the empowerment of women through wit. It also aims to bring to light the importance of art and the subtle power of theatre.

The Director
Ingrid Bonta was born in 1984 in Arad, Romania, in a small Saxon community. She decided to take up theatre courses at the age of 16 and pursued a short acting class at The School of Arts, in Arad and later joined the Arad Puppet Theatre as a puppeteer for a year. Ingrid studied Foreign Languages and Literature (German) at the National University of Bucharest and took a Master’s Degree in Theatre Direction. After graduating she staged various plays in theatres across Romania and took part in several theatre festivals in Romania and Europe. In 2015 she joined the initiative of Romanian actress Ruxandra Balasu and together they found Theatre Coquette, in the heart of Bucharest. This was the beginning of a constant directing career. Ingrid staged various successful performances at Theatre Coquette, and other state theatres in Bucharest.

The Group
Theatre Coquette is a young independent company in Bucharest, established in 2015 by a young group of theatre makers, at the initiative of actress & director Ruxandra Balasu. Since then, the group has been selected in various theatre festivals in Romania and abroad, and its productions have quickly entered the Independent Theatre movement in Romania and its performances have been showcased in various festivals and staged around the country. The group was awarded Best Foreign Group at the Nova Drama Festival, Bulgaria in 2016 with the performance The Colonel and The Birds. In 2017 it has been the only Romanian theatre to be selected at the largest theatre festival in Asia, receiving excellent reviews, being endorsed by the Romanian Cultural Institute. Our group is led by Ingrid Bonta, theatre director and puppeteer, and Ruxandra Balasu, actress, director and cultural manager, along with Daniel Divrician, visual artist and stage designer. The production Barbarian Nights had been invited to open the International Independent Theatre Festival in Bucharest in November 2017. Since 2017, Theatre Coquette has been a founding partner for the Association of Independent Theatres in Romania, thus becoming a strong supporter and active member in the indie Romanian arts.

Cast & Credits
Sheherazade: Ruxandra Balasu
King: Shahriar Ovidiu Usvat

Stage design: Daniel Divrician
Choreography: Andreea Novac

Direction: Ingrid Bonta

Manohar Khushalani

Manohar Khushalani

Prof. Manohar Khushalani is Currently a Visiting Faculty at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. The courses he teaches are: Animation & Graphics, Non-Linear Editing for Film and Radio and Theatre Appreciation.  He has won Excellence in Teaching awards for all the courses he has taught at IIITD Based on a Belief that Culture and Environment are the two keys to global sustainability , Manohar Khushalani has launched two portals: A Portal on Environment and Water called One Vorld at url: www.onevorld.org and two Ezines on Culture called Stage Buzz at url: www.stagebuzz.in & www.stagebuzz.info He has taught extensively in varied subjects such as Dam Safety, Instrumentation, CAD, IT, Animation, Theatre, Newspaper Editing. He has conducted Courses on Environment Management, Water Shed Development, Team Building and Personality Development. He is an Expert Member of Prasar Bharti’s Committee for Grading & Short listing Films for Telecast on all channels of Doordarshan.  He is a Radio Anchor for All India Radio and has moderated several programs for the Rajdhani Channel He is a well-known Theatre Actor/Director and Critic, has been involved in theatre since 1977. He has worked as an actor in over 50 plays with almost every leading director/Actor in the Country including Badal Sircar, Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, M.K. Raina, Anuradha Kapoor, Maya Rao, Manohar Singh, Prasanna, Rati Bartholomew and Sushmita Mukherji. He has been active in the social sector as a street theatre activist. As a member of Workshop Theatre, Theatre Union and Prayog, Khushalani has participated in street plays taking up major social issues such as dowry, bride burning, Sati, banned medicinal drugs and communalism. Dario Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Can’t Pay Won’t Pay, both directed by him, received rave notices from critics and audiences alike. Other plays directed by him include Badal Sircar’s, Sagina Mahato and Boris Vian’s Empire Builders for Ruchika Theatre Group. Khushalani has also acted in a few films such as Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi , Shoojit Sircar’s Madras Café and Pradeep Krishan's Annie Gives Those Ones. He is an Animator & Graphics Designer and has directed a number of documentaries. He also held a number of Honorary positions and was President of North India Films Association, He was the Chairman of  Jury for UGC CEC Educational Films Competition and has been on their Preview Committee since last many years. He was on the preview committee of Door Darshan Channel 3, was a visiting Professor at National School of Drama, New Delhi, and Film & Television Institute of India, Pune, AJKMCRR, Jamia Milia Islamia and Professor in Media at FICT, Delhi  He has judged a large number of Drama Competitions and conducted a number of Theatre / Management Games Workshops with Institutions such as AIIMS, NTPC, CWPRS, NWA, Karve Nari Prakshishan Sansthan, FICT, IIT, MAMC, Gargi College, KNC, Tagore International School and Vivekananda School. He is a Theatre Critic for IIC Diary, has also been a Columnist with Midday and Pioneer Daily and wrote Column's Called Culture Cocktail and Footlights Respectively. He was also the Guest Editor for an issue on Folk Theatre of ICCR Journal Horizons. He has written for Times of Indian, Hindustan Times, Blitz, Hard News, Hindu Business Line, Theatre India & Art Times. He has designed dams and hydraulic structures for the Government. He is a programmer and has developed Engineering design software in Fortran. He is a co-author of Irrigation Practice & Design (Vol 1 to5 - 1500 pages) published by Oxford & IBH and sponsored by National Book Trust. He has been a Director, Environment and Sociology, at the National Water Academy, Khadakwasla and Director, Environment Management Directorate, Central Water Commission and Member Secretary, National Environmental Monitoring Committee for River Valley Projects. He was also Director of Instrumentation Directorate in the Dam Safety Organisation. He was Chief General Manager and Head of Water Resources at Scott Wilson and is an accredited consultant with numerous other organizations He is a Delhi Public School, BITS Pilani, IIT Delhi and FTI Pune Alumini. He was also the President of BITS Pilani Alumni Association, Pune.

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