Mandala Theatre is hosting a Nepali-Norwegian theatre production titled “The Rose- An Awakening Journey of Yashodhara” (गुलाफ– यशोधराको जागरण यात्रा) at Mandala Studio from 27th December 2023 to 7th January 2024. A production of Thetna Arts, founded by Norway based Nepali theatre artist Ram Hari Dhakal, the play is supported by Arts and Culture Norway and Nordisk Culture Fund and will be staged in Norway in May 2024.
“The Rose” is a non-verbal physical performance based on experiences and perspectives of Yashodhara. Yashodhara is a woman who, during the wonderful time in her life, is waiting to hold her new-born as a gift of love, to be held in her spouse’s arms and feel the warm touch of love from him, turning the agony and suffering of childbirth into joy. She is saddened to learn that her husband has left home and family in search of his happiness.
The extreme pain of separation, and the effects and changes caused by Prince Siddhartha’s to his wife Yashodhara are the main theme of this play. In this play, we have tried to present Yashodhara’s emotional journey from pain to awakening through physical emotion.
After the pain of childbirth, the joy of having a child is probably the greatest joy. Only women can feel and experience the extreme of both pain and happiness. Men can however feel these feelings but cannot empathize it. When I became a father myself, witnessing both the pain and joy of childbirth, I remembered Princess Yosodhara. I couldn’t figure out, why I remembered him? But then, I kept questioning, why did Prince Siddhartha leave whole kingdom, Yashodhara and the newborn baby in such moment of happiness?
I explored Buddha again, putting the Buddha and Yasodhara together. What I came to realize was my understanding that we are all equal at birth. As we grow up, our physical and mental desires grow together. While struggling to achieve it, we figure out what, how and how we want to be and behave accordingly. Which is influenced by society and life events. Today’s practice shows the way for tomorrow and improves yesterday.
Sometimes personality alone does not determine the way someone develops some behaviours. It also depends upon the relationships, needs, promises, and circumstances as it forces people to think differently from their personality and behave differently. Kalidasa, Valmiki, Ravana, Vibhishana, Rama, Krishna, Bhishmapitamah, Ashwatthama, Duryodhana, Drornacharya, Karna etc. did not lack in knowledge but they were not perfect either.
Knowledge is not everything; occasionally, experiences have more power than knowledge. People are altered by events and situations, which makes them think and act/ behave strangely.
The self-consciousness of an individual defines him/her. That is the objective of this act. We are acting in ways that deviate from our typical behavior, whether we are aware of it or not, because of different circumstances. That is merely the outcome or response to the circumstances; it is not the beginning. The fish splashes and jumps when taken out of the water, but it swims contentedly when left in. Fish behave like swimmers, not splashers.
The act “Rose” expresses the ideas that Yashodhara had after Prince Siddhartha abandoned his family and realm. Consequences follow acts, and some people force themselves to express themselves in some way even when they are aware of the potential consequences of their actions. That’s just how people are.
No matter how we express ourselves, it will affect our future journey. Generally, during extreme pain people just want relief from the pain without thinking about the reaction and consequences. Yashodhara also wants to get rid of the pain of being abandoned by the person she considered dear in her life. I have tried to present this feeling/ emotion in this act. Thank you!
Deeya Maskey and Sarita Sah
Bal Bahadur Rai, Kapaseli Thito, Sashmil Pun Magar, Tirtha Raj BK, Eksha Maden, Sarjika Mijar, Rijan KC, Actors Studio, Theatre Mall
Sanjita Parajuli (Needle and Knots)
Concept, Design and Direction:
Ram Hari Dhakal