A performing artiste has rejected the words ‘White’ and ‘Brown’ on the set of her major stage production, believing the terms to inhibit inclusiveness and diversity.
Aarti Bajaj, Creative Director of Wild Dreamer Productions and its debut stage spectacular ‘Meera,’ The Production, said that her aim is to offer actors, dancers, singers and composers a platform to showcase their talent, without being hindered by their ethnicity.
“This is more to bring inclusion and diversity together on stage, and ensure the story itself is more powerful than the colour skin or ethnic background of the actor or character,” she said.
“It simply means when someone’s selecting an artist for a role, their colour shouldn’t matter, their ethnicity or where they come from shouldn’t matter, it should be more what their talent is, and what they can offer.”
“The best example is Oscar winner. Rami Malek, who is of Egyptian descent, and depicted Freddie Mercury (in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody), who is British of Zanzibar descent.”
A brainchild of Ms Bajaj, ‘Meera’ is an ambitious, first offering of Wild Dreamer Productions, a ground-breaking Australian-based production house committed to pushing boundaries beyond the social norm.
The stage spectacular will play six shows at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland on May 31, June 1 and June 2, 2019, after playing to a sell-out crowd of 1100 at the Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast in November last year.
“Meera is a bold love story from the 16th Century Northern India about a royal Princess who believes in her love for Lord Krishna to such a degree that she is willing to go against the norms of society for her love,” Ms Bajaj said.
Exploring and exposing talent
“When we took the cast of ‘Meera’ on board on the Gold Coast, little Meera was an Indian; little Krishna was not Indian; teenage Meera was not Indian, teenage Krishna was Indian; and adult Meera and Krishna were both Indian,” she added.
Another major motivation for Ms Bajaj is to create a platform where she can give different artistes the opportunity where they don’t need a profile to share their talent – if they have talent, she intends to bring the platform to them.
“The primary vision and ethos of Wild Dreamer Productions is to bring local talent together wherever the production goes,” Ms Bajaj said.
During the writing process, Ms Bajaj altered the interpretation of ‘Meera’ to fit a wider audience.
“It is about the true story of ‘Meera,’ written by me and professional scriptwriters around the world to give a globally palatable feel to the production. I wanted to take all of the religious aspects out, and only focus on the pureness of love in the story.
Love is universal
“Love is common for every living being, we all can have different religions and beliefs, but we all have one common expression, and that is love, “ she said.
Ms Bajaj said that everyone can recognise this theme when they walk into the auditorium, no matter where they come from, or what they believe.
“My ultimate goal is for ‘Meera’ to see all the beautiful stages and audiences across the globe, to sing out beautifully and loudly so everyone can get involved.”
And it is in these times of despair and disbelief, that Ms Bajaj believes we must respond with all the love we’re capable of giving.
“Love of each other, our neighbours, and love for those who agree with us, and those who don’t. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
“In the spirit of Wild Dreamer’s ethos of love and inclusiveness, we wish to pledge a percentage of profits from Meera’s Auckland run to the victims of the Christchurch tragedy.
“I believe that by joining hands and tackling the darkness in the world with love and togetherness, we can prevail over even the darkest of days. Let us celebrate humanity, love, peace and togetherness by coming together and remembering those who have lost their lives, and all those affected by this most reprehensible act,” Ms Bajaj said.
Joanne Rahn is Director, Zanthii Communications based in Gold Coast, Australia.