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Le Théatre du Soleil: “A Room in India”

What is the role of theater and art in a world dominated by terrorism and hostility? This is the central question at the heart of A Room in India (Une chambre en Inde), the latest epic by the matriarch of exploratory French theater, Ariane Mnouchkine, and her company Théâtre du Soleil. After astonishing Armory audiences with their two-part work Les Ephémères (“steady stream that ultimately opens out into a vista of beauty both humble in its mundane details and immense in its emotional impact,” The New York Times) in 2009, this visionary collective returns for the North American premiere of this landmark new work, following the adventures of a touring French theater company stranded in India without a director while the world around them falls into disarray.

Performed by 35 multinational actors, this tour-de-force transcends Eastern and Western drama and features a special performance of Terukkuttu — a traditional form of theater practiced in South India. The production touches on pressing issues that societies around the globe are currently facing, from terrorism and religious extremism to climate change and gender equality. The end result is a manifesto of the power of theater to heal a community, as well as an exploration of how to talk about the chaos of a world that has become incomprehensible.