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Resonances of the Past – a review by Manohar Khushalani

Resonances of the Past (The Ruth Wieder Magan Show)
first Published in IIC Diary Feb-March 2021

Ruth Wieder Magan

To commemorate International Womens Day, Organised with the support of “The Foundation for Independent Artists”, Ministry of Culture and Sport, Israel) the India International Center Screened three films by Ruth Wieder Magan; Mirror Sky (50 min), Come Away Human Child (6.42 min) and Kadayil Shabbaso (10 min)

A Webinar was also conducted at IIC, The Ecstatic Voice. What is the Female Voice? Participants were: Ruth Wieder Magan, well-known contemporary voice/body theatre artist from Israel; Prof. Michal Govrin, Prominent Israeli writer, poet and theatre director; Gabriella Lev, theatre director, writer, performer, Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Theatre Company Jerusalem; Michael Shachrur, prominent body worker, dancer; Sara Siegel and Yuval Steinberg, filmmakers. The sentiments echoed what the films resonate with.

Ruth is best known for her pioneering work integrating sacred texts into contemporary voice/body theatre. Her pioneering approach to the transcendental aspect of voice is founded solidly in sacred cantorial Jewish traditions. In Mirror Sky in a backdrop of dimly lit scenes Ruth, swirling, moaning, producing gutrral sound explains the origin of her techniques:

“The process of my voicing goes something like this; a voice arises from the particular presence of present time. I will begin to track the life of the vibration. Where is it sounding in my body?

[As Music Swirls] Is it liver or kidneys or blood or eyelids?

And where in my perception of the cosmos?

is that reverberation, am i feeling angels

or am i sensing the moon or feeling stars shifting?

….and how is that kernel of sound moving out into space?

Does it want to travel forward or travel back into the sides?

and what cultural meaning arises in me

As i hear the sound emitting from my very own voice

…is it ancient America or China or is it atlantis?… or am i hearing an animal? Her investigation continues

Ruth’s source of inspiration, were her own parents, both were Holocaust survivors. Their memories and experiences triggered the melodies and intonations rooted in the barren world of the yore.

The movies are psychedelic Ruth’s voice and body performance is mesmerizing. Audience connected to so many insights and the things she said ”..a wound is a gateway, a gateway to the universe.

A wind blown image of her own hair swirling over her face like diaphonous clouds punctuated with screams of agony seems to haunt you

IIC Diary Masthead Feb-Mar 2021



Editor Manohar Khushalani got Natsamrat Best Critic Award this day in 2019

Left to Right Jaidev Taneja, Prof Manohar Khushalani, Shyam Kumar

9th March 2019. The Glittering night of Natsamrat Theatre Awards. This was the most memorable moment of that year for StageBuzz Ed, Manohar Khushalani To be Awarded The 2019 Natsamrat Best Theatre Critic Award. It was indeed a fulfilling moment and an acknowledgement of his decades of consistent and persistent work as a critic for Pioneer (Column: Foot Lights), Mid Day (Culture Cocktail) and of course StageBuzz (Editor). The Award Ceremony was Organised by Shri Shyam Kumar, who is the driving force of the event . Well Known thespian Jaidev Taneja was the Chief Guest

Please listen to Prof. Manohar Khushalani’s Award Citation in the video above
Audience at the Awards
Excited Audience at the Glittering Award Ceremony

Winners of the 11th Natsamrat Theatre Awards:
Best Writer – Danish Iqbal
Best Director – Kichenassamy Madavane
Best Actor – Mohit Tripathi
Best Actress – Mona Chawla
Best Back-stage (Lights) – Himanshu B. Joshi
Best Critic – Manohar Khushalani
Lifetime Achievement – Feisal Alkazi
Theatre Promoter – Lalit Jaiswal

Natsamrat Awards List
Natsamrat Awards List

During that festival there was never a dull day in Delhi !
16th Natsamrat Natya Utsav included
10 plays in 5 days | 6 – 10 March | All plays in Hindi
6:30pm and 8pm everyday

Acceptance Speech of Prof. Manohar Khushalani




Plays of Social Relevance and on Feminist Issues / Manohar Khushalani

Firstly on Women’s Day it is important to recall the innumerable street plays we did on women’s issues mostly under the banner of Theatre Union and Workshop Theatre

Om Swaha‘ was about dowry and bride burning. It contributed towards sensitizing the media and the nation on this issue.’  

‘The Rape Bill” was about custodial rape and insensitive cross examination of victims in courts. It was performed when a select committee was examining the new rape bill before it became an act in the parliament. It also informed women about their rights.

Pardon ka Parcham’  was prepared by us after Roop Kanwar an 18-year old Rajput woman committed Sati  on 4th September 1987 at Deorala village of Sikar district in Rajasthan. These plays were collectively evolved by our group Theatre Union.

I would also like to recall my brothers and sisters in arms, an endless procession of street theatre co-warriors who came, sometimes stayed for a while and sometimes stopped briefly for a production or two and moved on. In no particular order they were: Sudhir Mishra, Sushmita Mukherji, Bina Pal. Meenu Chatutvedi, Anamika Haksar, Nandini, Anil Mehta, Anuradha Kapoor, Ravi Shankar, Umesh Bisht, Maya Rao, Vandana Bisht, Sushil Prashar, Sujasha Dasgupta, Chandrashekhar, Urvashi Butalia, Ragini Prakash, Vibhuti Nath Jha, Dr. Harivansh Chopra, Krishan Tyagi, Kumkum Sangaria, Ein Lal, Dr.Ravi Mahajan, Satyajit Sharma, Tapush Chanda and me, Manohar Khushalani. If I have forgotten anybody then please remind me.

I also directed Dario Fo’s ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay‘ for TU, it was a proscenium play. The play Kanthi Tripathy’s Kurukshetra and After which I directed for StageBuzz was also a proscenium play based on the Stree Parv  of Mahabharat. Which takes up the issue of women’s plight during War. And of course how can I forget that as an actor I acted in Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Dolls House and Tendulkar’s ‘Khamosh Adalat Zari hai‘ ! Both monumental plays in their own right.

With Workshop Theatre which emerged out of a workshop conducted by the Theatre Giant Badal Sircar at Sri Ram Center in 1979-80 we did a few plays on social issues, the most important amongst the was Badal Sircar’s, Bhooma. It took us 6 months to develop the play, which we translated from Bengali to Hindi collectively. We were young and sentimental, and broke down before the audience and audience too became sentimental about the plight of the villagers and farmers of Sunderbans who had to till and plow a land made fallow by salinity. Other plays we did was William Hinton’s Fanshen, Bertolt Brecht’s, Measures Taken and a children’s play; Kaddu Ram evolved by Workshop Theatre

Would also invite the readers to a conference being conducted by Natrang Pratisthan to discuss our memories of Theatre Union and it’s plays on

Manohar Khushalani




A film on how young brides of Punjab fall victims to some NRIs

“Thousands of Brides are waiting for their NRI grooms in Punjab… This is perhaps amongst the top social malice of Punjab…” According to the director of the film, Satya Prakash Sabarwal, “These Runaway Grooms should be given capital punishment for this heinous crime.” You can watch this film and see if you agree with him.

This film is the latest, in a continuing web based series on Social Issues by TVNF.

Watch the film on this link

Holiday Brides of Punjab




Nostalgia Street by Manohar Khushalani




Lights ! Camera ! Action ! by Manohar Khushalani




Theatre – The Way Forward : A discussion between Prof. Waman Kendre (NSD) and Prof. Manohar Khushalani




Can Amateur Theatre Survive ? by Manohar Khushalani




And the Award Goes to… by Manohar Khushalani




Promoting Enrichment through Cinema by Manohar Khushalani