Royal succession and Ideological divide
Dara tells the story of Shah Jehan, the Mughal Emperor famous for building the Taj Mahal in his wife’s memory. His two sons, Dara Shikoh and Aurangzeb, battle to succeed him after his death. The royal themes, rich characters and poetry promised by all accounts of the production lead us to expect a production with the scope and power of King Lear.
Beyond the romantic plot-line, the play is also a portrayal of two fundamental Muslim ideologies; Dara is a poet who preaches harmony between faiths, representing the Sufi branch of the religion. Whilst Aurangzeb interprets the faith according to strict Shariah law. In dramatising this true story, writer Shahid Nadeem has called the play a ‘humble contribution to show that Islam is not about hatred or prejudice but instead is about love and harmony.’ Throughout productions in Pakistan and India, Dara has provoked discussion about the modern reverberations of this ideological divide, evident on a daily basis in Middle Eastern conflict.
The roots of Islam
For those of us who only experience such conflict through a TV set or newspaper, this is a wonderful opportunity to deepen understanding of the roots of the religion. And we think Tanya Ronder, renowned for her adaptation of Vernon God Little for the Young Vic in 2007, is a perfect choice for this act of translation. The UK’s relationship with Islam dominates mass media, so it is exciting to see the National Theatre staging its history in a production that is set to be as spectacular, tragic and philosophical as any Shakespearean blockbuster.
|What||Dara, National Theatre|
|Where||National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
20 Jan 15 – 04 Apr 15, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information from the National Theatre|