EDINBURGH, LONDON: Akademi presents "The Troth"
Akademi’s new international dance theatre production The Troth comes to Army@The Fringe
A 100-year-old Hindi short story from World War I told through archive and new silent film footage, an evocative sound score and powerful dance
10 to 25 August 2018 (no performances 12, 13, 19, 20 August) at 8.30pm
Venue 210, Army@The Fringe, 89 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh EH7 4HU
“The Troth is a gripping experience of a shared heritage. It’s convincingly told as a moving story of love and sacrifice, set in an all-too-familiar context of First World War horror seen through unfamiliar eyes (to many British viewers, I suspect). Though the movement language is that of dance-theatre, the silent film framing and South Asian-influenced music are reminders of its origins in Indian culture. The six superb dancers are British, benefiting from the fascinating background research into Indian and British sources in archives and museums. …with revelatory early 20th century film footage of Sikh soldiers in action in wartime Europe.” Review by Jann Parry, Dance Tabs, 5 stars
This powerfully emotional piece of dance theatre was conceived by Akademi’s director Mira Kaushik and has been a huge success on tour in India and the UK. Now, it comes to Edinburgh Festival Fringe for twelve performances as part of Army@The Fringe. Army@The Fringe is hosted in an Army Reserve Centre in Edinburgh’s New Town and programmed and run in association with Summerhall. It features a cutting-edge performance programme focusing on diversity to spark conversations about what the Army is and what it stands for in 21st Century society. Army@The Fringe is staffed by serving soldiers.
The Troth tells a story of love, loss and sacrifice against the backdrop of the horror and conflict of World War I. Inspired by film noir and the era of black and white films, The Troth weaves a poignant narrative through dance, music and film.
Based on Chandradhar Sharma Guleri’s iconic Hindi short story Usne Kaha Tha, The Troth is about one soldier, Sardar Lehna Singh, and the sacrifice he makes to keep his secret promise to an unrequited love whilst mid-conflict in the horror of the trenches of Belgium.
The Troth is choreographed by award-winning director and choreographer Gary Clarke, acclaimed for his compelling works of narrative dance theatre, most recently with COAL based on the miners’ strike. Clarke collaborates with dramaturg Lou Cope to tell the soldier’s story, using archive wartime footage and new subtitled films by Josh Hawkins to unfold the narrative. They set the scene for viscerally powerful dance from six dancers within an evocative soundscape created by BASCA award-winner Shri Sriram who laces his original composition with sounds from World War I and Indian folk music.
The cast is Daniel Hay-Gordon, Deepraj Singh, Dom Coffey, Songhay Toldon, Subhash Viman Gorania and Vidya Patel, finalist in BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 who has performed to great acclaim with Richard Alston Dance Company. Lighting design is by Charles Webber and costumes by Abha Desai
The Troth marks the centenaries of World War I (1914-18), Indian cinema (1913) and the first Hindi short story (1915). It is rooted in the most recent academic research and in-depth cultural exchange. Leading academics and experts who have contributed to the project are Amarjit Chandan (Poet and academic), Dr Santanu Das (literary specialist and historian at Kings College London specialising in World War I), Tripurari Sharma (Professor of Acting at the National School of Drama, Delhi) and Ashok Sagar Bhagat (Professor of Theatre Architecture at the National School of Drama, Delhi) and Jasdeep Singh (Community Curator, National Army Museum).
Over 1.3 million Indians contributed active service over the course of World War I and were the largest voluntary force ever assembled. Their losses were staggering. The Troth reveals the contribution and human cost of Indian soldiers to the allied war effort. British Armed Forces have advised the creative team on military training, movement, aesthetics and music of the period
Photo credit: Simon Richardson
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