Ohio Northern Play Festival focusing on India


International Play Festival: 7:30 p.m., Freed Center Stambaugh Studio Theatre, 525 S. Main St., Ada. Tickets $20 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for students at freedcenter.com or 419-772-1900.

ADA — Ohio Northern University will host “The International Play Festival: India” at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21, Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Freed Center Stambaugh Studio Theatre, 525 S. Main St., Ada.

This year’s Play Festival will offer a glimpse into the performing arts of India. Gaurav Saini and Irfana Majumdar from Varanasi, India, are on hand to direct “Hayavadana” by acclaimed Indian playwright Girish Karnad.

Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for seniors and $20 for adults at freedcenter.com or 419-772-1900.

There will also be performances at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 and Sunday, Feb. 24.

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“Hayavadana” is a modern play based on ancient Sanskrit stories about two male friends who love the same woman. This universal story will be brought to life in an exceptionally lively cultural context of Indian performance traditions, including classical song and dance. There is something for everyone, including an engaging storyteller who keeps the action moving and the comic character for whom the play is named, Hayavadana, who trots through the story as half-man/half-horse, longing to achieve completeness.

Fourteen ONU theatre and musical theatre majors will take to the stage after more than five weeks of intensive training with directors Saini and Majumdar. They have been immersed in the aesthetic and cultural traditions of India, undertaken a crash course in Hinduism and Indian mythology, and been introduced to classical musical traditions. They will be singing in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, and have learned kathak, one of several classical dance traditions of India, which they will perform.

Other key students involved in the production include stage manager Haley Ward, scenic designer Alex Capeneka and student dramaturg William Hartman.

Joan Robbins, ONU assistant professor of theatre arts, is festival dramaturg, and guest artist Mansee Singhi of Columbus, Ohio, is choreographer.

The performances will be accompanied by traditional Indian instruments, including the tabla, played by Dan Piccolo of Bowling Green State University, and sitar, played by Hans Utter of Columbus, Ohio.

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International Play Festival: 7:30 p.m., Freed Center Stambaugh Studio Theatre, 525 S. Main St., Ada. Tickets $20 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for students at freedcenter.com or 419-772-1900.

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