Savitri – dancing in the forest of death is the story of a woman’s journey of loss, search, discovery and spiritual freedom through love.

The original Savitri is a relatively minor character in the Mahabharata: a princess whose royal husband (demoted to being a wood-cutter because of his father’s blindness) is carried off after only a year of marriage by the God of Death, Yama. Savitri challenges Yama, in an attempt to win back the life of her husband Satyavan. Traditionally, and through many different interpretations over the centuries, she has been seen as a pious woman upholding ideals of patriarchal Hinduism: “epic” perhaps in the sense that epic poetry upholds and sustains the founding myths of a societal system.

Savitri – dancing in the forest of death is Thresh’s latest theatre-dance production re-visioning the ancient epic story of the princess Savitri. As Teddy Jefferson, writer of the original script for the production writes:
What if Savitri, not wanting a husband, picked Satyavan precisely because of the curse that he would only live a year? The story opens up in myriad ways. Least appealing is the reading of her story an instructional fable for instilling the habits of duty, obedience, and quiet suffering into females, and there is not much to redeem it unless you endorse that view of women. Particularly intriguing is the unknowability of what exactly happened during her walk with Yama -Yama whose portrait may be the most sympathetic and nuanced in the story, because he has the most modern trait of all. In the desire to capture Savitri for the modern world there is another option: to see her as a character condemned to play this, a woman born with full independence of spirit and mind and autonomy (a “modern person”) but made to play the role of this paragon of duty and self-sacrifice formed by a society thousands of years earlier. 

The performance of Savitri is developed as a dialogue between Preeti’s traditional roots in classical Indian dance-theatre and her provocative modern theories of movement and expression.

Comments are closed.