How is love between strangers today different from Shakuntala’s times in the Mahabharata? What does it mean to have a child out of wedlock in 2019 versus in Hastinapur? How can two people “see” each other if they never “see” each other?
In 2019, chance, fate and coincidence bring Shakuntala and Dushyant together from across oceans to meet in a Mumbai bookstore and fall in love. With the premise that he will return for her, as the Mahabharata tale goes, Dushyant goes back to his professorship and life in Cambridge, MA. For Shakuntala, a tornado of events unravels after Dushyant leaves within the cacophony of her mother’s voice. Shakuntala eventually goes to Boston to meet Dushyant where a further surprise element puts her in a quandary beyond imagination. The two attempt to put back together the strewn pieces to see if anything can be intact again.
As we unearth the conflicts within, Shakuntala Awaits crosses cultures and continents to remind us that while some battles are relentless – we are stronger than we think.
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Isheeta Ganguly is a renowned Tagore fusion singer, playwright director and screenwriter with 8 studio albums and 3 acclaimed plays to her credit who made a full-time transition into the arts after over a decade in management consulting in health care. With her BA from Brown and Masters from Columbia, Isheeta has helmed leadership roles in both India and the US before she wrote her first Tagore based musical theatre, “Three Women”, which became a resounding success internationally. Thereafter, she created “Sundays with Chitra and Chaitali”, and (currently showing), “Shakuntala Awaits” which has also garnered great appreciation among cross-cultural audiences internationally. Her plays are known for their ability to weave together threads of classic tales into contemporary, “dram-com”, urban contexts. Her performances internationally have been graced with narrations from wonderful and esteemed talent including Juhi Chawla, Lisa Haydon, Shilpa Shetty, Mallika Sarabhai and Chelsea Clinton in NYC. Among her albums, her most notable track is “Bande Mataram” which features a voice-over by renowned actor/producer John Abraham and has been performed for the Jaipur Literary Festival, TED X Gateway, New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF), the Rubin Museum, the Lincoln Center and the Intrepid in NYC. Currently, as a film-maker, she is adapting one of her plays into a feature film for a 2022 release.
Purva Bedi A 2019 Drama Desk Award winner for her work in Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons), Purva is an Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater and a member of the Actors Center. New York theater credits include: Wives (Playwrights Horizons), Passage (Soho Rep), India Pale Ale (Manhattan Theater Club), An Ordinary Muslim (New York Theatre Workshop), Uncommon Sense (Tectonic Theater Project), The Idiot (HERE), Veil’d (Women’s Project); Ten Blocks on the Camino Real, Reread Another, The Tempest, and Second Language (Target Margin); There or Here (Hypothetical Theater), The Rise of Dorothy Hale (St. Luke’s); East is East (Manhattan Theater Club & New Group); and many others. She recently shot the NBC pilot One Of Us Is Lying. Her guest and recurring appearances include Billions, High Maintenance, She’s Gotta Have It, The Code, Madam Secretary, Person of Interest, Unforgettable, Nurse Jackie, The Blacklist, The Good Wife, A Gifted Man, Gossip Girl, House, Boston Legal, Alias, Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Drew Carey Show, ER, Strong Medicine, and The West Wing. www.purvabedi.com
Samrat Chakrabarti is an award-winning actor and internationally acclaimed musician. Samrat holds a MFA in Acting from the A.R.T/ Moscow Art Theatre School Program at Harvard University. As an actor, he has done dozens of Guest Stars and Recurring Roles on American TV shows, including: The Brink (HBO), Mr. Robot (USA), 30 Rock (NBC), In Treatment (HBO), Damages (FX), Blue Bloods (CBS), The Leftovers (HBO), A Gifted Man (CBS), Bored To Death (HBO), Law and Order (NBC), The Sopranos (HBO), and All My Children (ABC). He has also been consistently working in films, both Hollywood and Independent, ranging from Spike Lee’s She Hate Me to Amyn Kaderali’s Kissing Cousins to Bruce Leddy’s The Wedding Weekend to Joseph Castelo’s The War Within (which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award). He’s worked on several international projects, the list includes: Deepa Mehta’s film adaption of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, Manish Acharya’s Loins of Punjab Presents (with legendary actress Shabana Azmi), Kabir Khan’s New York (produced by Yash Raj Films), Joseph Matthew’s Bombay Summer and Kamal Hasaan’s Vishwaroopam.