By Christian Yosef
Elm Staff Writer
How important is love and friendship? That is the question audiences hoped to answer when they watched “Shakuntala,” a play directed by Sofia Sidhu as part of her senior directing thesis from Friday, April 6 to 7.
“Shakuntala” is an ancient Indian play written by Kālidāsa, made sometime between the first century B.C. and the fourth century B.C. The play is about a young woman, Shakuntala, who falls in love and later marries a king named Dushyanta. Later in the play, Shakuntala disrespects a mysterious figure which results in her being cursed when King Dushyanta is under a spell that makes him forget his wife. Audiences were on the edge of their seats wondering if the couple will ever get back together.
“I was drawn to this play because of its history, its culture, and the magic embedded in the myth of ‘Shakuntala.’ I’m half Indian and was very excited about finding a play that would allow me to explore my culture and share it with my [Washington College] family,” Sidhu said.
Even though there were many benefits of working on this play, there were some challenges too.
“It was so difficult to get this up and running with the challenge of balancing my duties as a director/producer and my duties as a student and TA,” she said. “I’ve never pulled so many all-nighters, but it’s worth it.”
Junior Rachel Treglia was the stage manager and knew she had to be part of this play.
“I decided to work on this play last June,” she said. “Sofia talked about how it was an Indian folklore and I thought that was just amazing. We haven’t had anything like a folklore in a while. It’s been modern plays or plays from the 1900s, so I thought this was unique.”
From the first day of rehearsal to showtime, Treglia has made great memories working on the play.
“It’s been so much fun,” she said. “Every time I walk into a rehearsal, they come in and brighten my day. It’s been a fun process.”
“I really enjoyed watching it all come together because we spent like a month and a half just doing our lines and rehearsing our acting,” said senior Shreyas Suresh, who played King Dushyanta. “But this past Sunday we brought everything to the stage and did the backdrop, designing the set, and all that. You can see everything fit in and you see how it all adds together and that was really cool to see.”
Sophomore Ethan Hu was another actor in “Shakuntala.” Playing the charioteer and the chamberlain, he said this play gave him a new perspective on life.
“I didn’t do any theater shows growing up,” he said, “but this play opened up my eyes to how much work is put into each part and how it comes out beautifully. I’ve seen a lot of plays growing up, but I never understood how many parts were put together to make the story flow so perfectly. I also learned how important teamwork and communication is.”