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I feel a sense of heady excitement as I grab my suitcase off the baggage carousal at San Francisco airport. I am here from Delhi to do a back flip in time and step into the shoes (…or do I mean slippers?) of a eunuch at the Moghul court in 16th century India.

For me participating in Noor—Empress of the Moghuls is the culmination of two long associations, one with Vinita Sud Belani, Founder and Artistic Director of EnActe Arts and the other with Feisal Alkazi, renowned Indian director with over 300 plays under his belt.

“Noor is the perfect embodiment of what EnActe wants to showcase,” explains Belani. “It’s a new play by a contemporary playwright, set in the century when India was one of, if not the richest nation in the world. It deals with issues of power, intrigue, gender and love in a very contemporary way, we start to feel that issues resonate across the centuries.  In format the play eschews the grand Mughal-e-Azam or Jodha Akbar style that we normally associate with that period, we get an intimate and unapologetic look at historically accurate events, through the eyes of the court eunuch.”

Ummm…that would be me, flitting easily between the segregated world of men and women, watching as one woman breaks purdah and usurps the power unarguably reserved for men, unleashing a flood of disbelief, jealousy and revenge in her journey from Mehrunissa to Noor Jahaan.

Friday May 24 8 p.m., Saturday May 25, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday May 26, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Brava Theater, 2781 24th St., San Francisco. (415) 641-7657. http://www.enacte.org/current-production/ or www.vendini.com.
Friday May 31, 8 p.m., June 1, 3 p.m. and 8 pm, Sunday June 2,  2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Montgomery Theater, 271 S Market St., San Jose. (408) 295-9600. at http://www.enacte.org/current-production/ or www.sjtix.com.

 

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