On 4/25/19 I was in a show at ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) Kolkata performing selections from Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel-winning “Gitanjali” poetry collection in English while my counterpart Indrani Majumder performed them in Bengali. I ended with a selection from 19th century US poet Walt Whitman‘s “Song of Myself” as it always reminds me of Tagore. Their shared search for the divine in the everyday seems to make them a perfect pairing. Above is a short excerpt from the show.
This Thursday, April 25th at 6pm IST I’ll be performing in the East & West poetry reading with Kolkata performance artist Indrani Majumder. I’ll be reading some selections from Rabindranath Tagore’s 1912 Nobel-winning collection “Gitanjali” in English as a counter to Indrani performing the same poems in Bengali. Gitanjali’s central theme in this collection of largely pastoral poems is devotion, or as Tagore puts it in one of his verses, “I am here to sing thee songs”.
When I first read “Gitanjali” years ago it immediately brought Walt Whitman’s late 19th century “Song of Myself” to mind in its sensual appreciation for life and its seeking of the divine in nature. I love this epic poem so much that I keep a small pocket edition in my camping gear and always take it with me backpacking or camping, and make a point of spending a few minutes alone in the forest reading it; a tradition I hope to impart to my son. That said, I’ll be concluding my portion of the evening by reading a selection from “Song of Myself.”
We’re part of a larger evening lineup and the event is free.
ICCR Kolkata (Indian Council for Cultural Relations)
9A Ho Chi Minh Sarani just opposite the US Consulate
Last chance to see EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS. With officially only a 20-seat storefront house, all 3 shows last weekend were sellouts: 31 people Friday night, 27 Saturday night, even the Sunday matinee was a sellout at 23. We have 3 shows left starting tonight. As of this morning the Saturday show is sold out, the Friday show has only 3 seats left, but tonight’s show remains open so if you’d like to see it then tonight is probably your best bet.
Thank you so much for coming to our 2012 Philly Fringe show EINSTEIN/TAGORE: SEASHORE OF ENDLESS WORLDS. As Shiva3 Productions (which started as a lark in last year’s Philly Fringe show and then turned into something real) I’ve served as the behind-the-scenes producer, marketer and graphic designer as well as the script consultant for Einstein and Tagore’s adapted conversations recited during the show. We’ve been truly humbled by the unexpectedly large numbers in attendance for our modest-sized art gallery space. It’s been a thrill for us. The Philly Fringe is primarily theatre-centric, so here we are off to the side in the dance category, and within that we’re something apparently called “ethnic dance” which further reduced our audience expectations, and in a storefront art gallery instead of a theatre. This show was purely art for art’s sake. You have blown our assumptions about Philadelphia out of the water.
With officially only a 20-seat house, 5 out of 6 shows were sellouts hovering around an audience of 30, and we were literally turning more people away at the door. If and when the show returns we promise a larger venue with better sightlines. In the meantime please enjoy our rave review in the City Paper.
Many thanks for your support,