Survival of the Kindest: Dipankar Mukherjee & Meena Natarajan – Minneapolis & The Pangea World Theatre

Dipankar Mukherjee & Meena Natarajan – Minneapolis & The Pangea World Theatre

‘BE OPEN TO QUESTIONING EVERYTHING, INCLUDING THE THINGS THAT WE’VE GROWN UP WITH. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT OUR OWN CONDITIONING, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW WE RELATE TO THINGS, WHETHER IT’S RELIGION, WHETHER IT’S A BELIEF SYSTEM, WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO BREAK ALL OF THAT OPEN, IN ORDER TO TRULY BE COMPASSIONATE, AND TO TRULY BE IN RELATIONSHIP TO EACH OTHER.’

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/survival-of-the-kindest/id1525026504?i=1000514988205

In the week where Derek Chauvin is to stand trial for the murder of George Floyd, Julian talks to Dipankar Mukherjee and Meena Natarajan, who founded and run the Pangea World Theater which is two miles from where the murder took place. While they have focused in the last year on responding to COVID and then to the riots and protests that followed George Floyd’s death, the main theme of their careers has been about ‘illuminating the human condition, celebrating cultural differences, and promoting human rights by creating and presenting international, multi-disciplinary theatre’. They centre community, ancestors, connection to people and place, and widen what theatre means, how it can be sacred, healing, educational and accessible for everyone.

Having both grown up in India, each with a connection to their own historic dramaturgical roots that extend thousands of years back, they were also both educated under a colonial system that placed western literary traditions as the pinnacle of theatrical development, which brings with it the baggage of theatre belonging to a particular section of society.

Meena and Dipankar have worked for 25 years to use the sacred space of theatre as a means to re-enfranchise people in their community, to understand the wisdom held by the local Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, and to integrate authentic responses to the world in a creative and inclusive manner.

Things mentioned in the podcast:

Pangea World Theatre Website, Twitter

Longfellow Rising

Indian theatrical and literary traditions:

Natya Shastra

Tagore

Kutiyattam

Kathakali

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Email us compassion.pod@gmail.com

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