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Thursday, January 23, 2014


(Pranesh Maharaj plays the role of Balram)

Starring Pranesh Maharaj, Bhagwan gave me this life written and directed by Vivian Moodley returns to Catalina Theatre at the end of the month for a short season.

The human condition encompasses the unique features of being human. It can be described as the unalterable part of humanity that is inherent and innate to human beings and not dependent on factors such as gender, race or class. It includes concerns such as the meaning of life, the search for gratification, the sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or awareness regarding the inescapability of death.

Set in 1981 in Inanda and mainly in Hindi, the story is about Balram, a widower, who we meet at a major turning point in his existence as he looks back on his life with its high and low points. Balram’s wife Lalita was introduced to him via a family arrangement by two eccentric aunties from Ottawa and Inanda. The proudest of his family was his brother, Sukhram, who involved himself in the wedding. The brothers shared a very tight bond that lasted until the bitter end.

“The plot of the one-man play centres on the couple’s inability to have a child at first,” explains Moodley. “Balram’s parents longed for a grandchild until years later a son is born. The traditional values of an old community, the wood and iron house, the nostalgia of the music we listened to and spiritual guidance instilled in us over the years come to the fore in this dramatization of our inner wars.”

Vivian Moodley has an illustrious resume in the performance arts in every known medium. “This is South Africa’s first Hindi cultural production,” he says. “Yet it is designed to be accessible to all. The story is specific to the time and area; and if you are from that generation then it will bring back memories, make you laugh and drop a tear. If not, then it will give you a sense of history and entertain you.”

Bhagwan gave me this life runs for five shows at Catalina Theatre at Wilson’s Wharf with performances on January 31, February 1 and 2 at 19h00 and matinees on February 1 and 2 at 14h00. Booking is at Computicket.