The world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival has been long been known to push the boundaries of art.
This year’s edition is no different.
Among the highlights is an exciting new take on ‘Shakuntala’ – by some distance the greatest Indian story ever told – that’s been re-imagined as a Rock Opera.
It’s written directed and scored by Dubai-based producer Kevin Oliver and will be performed by students from the GEMS Modern Academy school in the Emirate where Mr Oliver is a Cultural Coordinator.
Based on a tale from the pages of the Indian mythological epic Mahabharata, Shakuntala the Rock Opera features 19 original songs and a cast of 30 singers and dancers.
The story is woven together by a narrator set against a backdrop of song and dance. Primed with percussion against tracks ranging from guitar solos to pop and rap Shakuntala is complemented with a monochromatic set design and flowing black and white stylised costumes.
First dramatized by the fifth century Indian poet Kalidas, Shakuntala tells the story of a young woman who lives in a hermitage in a forest and who falls in love with a King.
He marries her before returning to his Kingdom, but Shakuntala is cursed by a sage who erases the King’s memory of her and forces her to leave the forest.
“Shakantula epitomizes a harmonious kaleidoscope of Eastern Classic and Western Rock. This simple and fresh tale with its riveting and unforgettable musical score will charm any theatre enthusiast”, Oliver said.
The GEMS Modern Academy was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the American Schools Theatre Festival which traditionally features performances from schools based in North America and Canada.
‘Shakuntala’ the Rock Opera is at the Edinburgh Fringe 06 – 21 August.