Mara, The Temptor, at Esplanade on March 24

It was Mara, The Temptor, who tried to entice Prince Siddhartha and prevent him from achieving his enlightenment and attaining saintship.

Arte Compass in association with Apsaras Arts, bring Mara to life in a show to be performed on March 24th at The Esplanade Theatre.

Mara is played by the attractive and much acclaimed Indian-American Bharatanatyam dancer Mythili Prakash who famously played the wife of Pi in Director Ang Lee's award-winning blockbuster Life of Pi. Mara is also her creation, along with equally talented brother Aditya Prakash. Mara has also been staged at the Ford Amphitheatre at Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York.

The organisers describe Mara - The Mastermind as, "a mind-bending, high-octane dance, music and multimedia production that brings to life the diabolical, devious character, Mara from the Buddhist lore, in a visually entrancing exploration of the human mind and all its intricacies."

Mara - The Mastermind is a mind-bending, high-octane dance, music and multimedia production
Mara - The Mastermind is a mind-bending, high-octane dance, music and multimedia production. Photo courtesy: Facebook page of Arte Compass

Connoisseurs of culture will be able to see the unique collaboration of American, Indian and Singaporean artistes in the upcoming dance production.

The choreographer of Mara, Mythili Prakash is one of the most celebrated and respected young Bharatanatyam dancers today. Photo courtesy: mythiliprakash.com
The choreographer of Mara, Mythili Prakash is one of the most celebrated and respected young Bharatanatyam dancers today. Photo courtesy: mythiliprakash.com

Mara blends poetry with dance choreographed by Mythili Prakash and performed by a select group of dancers from Apsaras Arts Singapore along with international talents. The music is composed and performed by the Aditya Prakash Ensemble. The video art for the production is created by Kate Johnson.

The unique presentation will take the audience through a stunning synchrony of movement of classical Indian dancers and boldly innovative live music - a powerful, heady mix of Indian ragas, brass band jazz, modern global rhythms - intersects with multimedia projections and experimental staging.  

Mara is the demon who infamously attempted to entice Gautam Buddha.
Mara is the demon who attempted to entice Gautam Buddha while he was performing penance at Bodhgaya. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Mara continues to distract humans from discovering what lies beyond worldly pleasures, the pursuit of true inner freedom. Can Jeeva break free from the chains that bind her to this world? The dance extravaganza will provide the answer.

In Buddhist cosmology, Mara is associated with death, rebirth and desire.

As per the organisers, "Mara brings together the depth of Eastern philosophy, aesthetics of Indian classical arts, and dynamism of Western stagecraft and music. On a deeper level, Mara carries a message, which traverses across boundaries of culture, age, geography, and time. Mara is about life, perception, transformation, and self-discovery.  It is about each one of us."

Mythili Prakash

Mythili Prakash choreographies include Jwala – Rising Flame, Stree Katha, Chandalika, and Mara.  

Mythili Prakash's choreographies Jwala – Rising Flame, Stree Katha, Chandalika, and Mara are imaginative and highly accessible productions.
Mythili Prakash's choreographies Jwala – Rising Flame, Stree Katha, Chandalika, and Mara are imaginative and highly accessible productions. Photo courtesy: mythiliprakash.com

A second generation Indian and American artiste, Mythili has positioned herself as a global and cosmopolitan performer through her  unique experiences and collaborations with Anoushka Shankar, Gowri Ramnarayan and Lynn Dally. Her repertoire is an embodiment of narratives of the many worlds that shape her.

Raised in Los Angeles, she grew up in an environment filled with dance and music, under the watchful eye of her mother and teacher dance exponent Viji Prakash. Mythili began her performing career with her solo debut in India at the age of eight and has since performed extensively in prestigious venues and festivals throughout the world. She has studied with several legendary stalwarts from India,and is now under the tutelage of India’s acclaimed artist, Malavika Sarukkai.

Mythili Prakash was also featured on NBC’s Superstars of Dance as a Bharata Natyam soloist, introducing her art form to all over the world.
Mythili Prakash was also featured on NBC’s Superstars of Dance as a Bharata Natyam soloist, introducing her art form to all over the world. Photo courtesy: mythiliprakash.com

She has toured her own solo productions in the United Kingdom, Scotland, France, and Singapore, the United States and Mexico. She was featured on NBC’s Superstars of Dance as a Bharata Natyam soloist, introducing her art form to all over the world.

Aditya Prakash

Aditya Prakash, brother of  Mythili Prakash, is an award-winning, American-born Indian classical vocalist best known for his powerful and emotive voice. Although firmly rooted in South Indian classical (Carnatic) music, his style is heavily inspired by North Indian classical music, Sufi music, Western classical, jazz, flamenco, and hip hop, which he brings out in his collaborative projects.

Aditya studied composition under award-winning jazz musician Tamir Hendlemen, and Hindustani vocal under Ustaad Shujaat Khan. Both forms greatly inform his present musical style.

Aditya Prakash is an award-winning, American-born Indian classical vocalist best known for his powerful and emotive voice. Photo courtesy: adityaprakashmusic.com
Aditya Prakash is an award-winning, American-born Indian classical vocalist best known for his powerful and emotive voice. Photo courtesy: adityaprakashmusic.com

He has worked in crossover genre music, touring and performing throughout the USA, Europe and Canada as lead vocalist with Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale, Salim Merchant and MIDIval Punditz.

He is the founder of performing groups Aditya Prakash Ensemble and J.A.S.S. Quartet which create original compositions inspired from the styles of Indian classical, folk, jazz, funk, blues and hip hop. He regularly composes for acclaimed dancer and sister Mythili Prakash’s productions.

The artists in the Mara – The Mastermind also include Madhumanthi Banerjee, Navia Natarajan, Jyotsna Jagannathan, Bhagyalakshmi Sivaramakrishnan, Sandhya Narayanan Iyer, Amrita Tushar Doshi, Jahnavi Kalyan, Meera Balasubramanian, Anuja Varaprasad, Sathvikaa Shankar, Maanasa Sri Ganesh, Nikita Menon and Varsha Vishwanath.

Click on the link here or call +65 6348 5555 for tickets.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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