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Shakuntalas and Aging Divas: 'Where Did I Leave My Purdah?" at Watermans

Having thrilled audiences in Mumbai, screen and theatre diva Lillete Dubey is bringing her new play about an aging diva in search of resurrection to the Watermans theatre this month.

Written by Mahesh Dattani ('Dance Like a Man', 'Tara') and produced by the Primetime Theatre Company, 'Where Did I Leave My Purdah?" tells the story of Nazia (Lillete Dubey), a faded theatre legend and founder of the fabled theatre group

The Modern Indian Theatre, ostensibly a reference to real-life post-Partition companies like IPTA and Naya Theatre.
Once famed for portraying the mythical Shakuntala, seduced and abandoned by philandering king Dushyant, Nazia is now reduced to granny roles in mainstream film.

Though aware of her fall from grace, she remains a go-getter. At the end of Scene One, she has ditched a film shooting and announced her intention to revive the play Shakuntala through a gutsier retelling.

Trouble begins when Nazia is auditioning a ditzy young actress to play the modern Shakuntala.  Ruby, daughter of Nazia's dead sister Zarine, offers to find Nazia a producer for a price. She wants Nazia to publically exhume the truth of the historical Shakuntala productions.

Her suspicion being, Shakuntala was played not by Nazia but by Zarine. Nazia is quick to rubbish the claim. This push and shove which drives the play's theme of wilful duplicity, marked by the purdah or veil, throws open the distant past.

The Primetime Theatre Company and writer, Mahesh Dattani’s earlier collaboration  was Dance Like a Man, one of India’s longest running show about two Bharatnatyam dancers past their prime.

Here, they return to the same theme looking at what happens to artistes as they get older.

'Where Did I leave my Purdah'
Written by Mahesh Dattani, Directed by Lillete Dubey
24 September – 28 September 2013. 7.45pm
Matinee Sat 28 September. 4pm & Sun 29 Sept 7.30pm
Tickets: £15 (£12.50)
Box Office: 020 8232 1010
www.watermans.org.uk

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