Water Lilies unfolds three chance meetings between strangers, a man and a woman each from a different culture

JustUs Repertory’s trilogy Water Lilies will be staged on August 1 and 4, 2012 at the Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Chennai, as part of Live in August-Chennai, a first time city-wide fringe festival initiative by Chennai theatre groups.

Written and directed by Gowri Ramnarayan, Water Lilies unfolds three chance meetings between strangers, a man and a woman (Vivek Hariharan, Akhila Ramnarayan), each from a different culture. The play’s ambient western classical soundscape is performed live by pianist Anil Srinivasan. The lighting design is by V. Balakrishnan.

In Fawn Lilies (Part 1), a bird-watching architect from Hyderabad — whose boyfriend decides to give up love for war — meets a vagabond with a wry feel for causes in a park in Columbus, Ohio. In Water Lilies (Part 2), a Texan investment banker becomes curious about a Sri Lankan woman's passion for Claude Monet’s lilyscapes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. Black Lilies (Part 3), takes place a day after 9/11 at the Washington-Dulles airport, where a young school teacher from Tamil Nadu on her first foreign trip finds a friend in a celebrated Serbo-Hungarian novelist.

As each encounter progresses, the characters find common ground in violent times, and despite disparate realities. As they share confidences and spill secrets, the chance encounters trigger reflection. Can these individuals resist the blood-tide swelling around them? Can they believe that beauty and compassion are as real as everyday fear and pain?

The visual backdrop forms a parallel text that includes nature stills from Ohio and Oregon, Impressionist Claude Monet’s legendary lilies, and modernist Marc Chagall’s signature stained glass windows.

Water Lilies has been performed in several Indian cities, including at the National School of Drama’s international theatre festival, New Delhi and the Prithvi Poetry Festival, Mumbai, Darpana, Ahmedabad. On September 25, 2011, as part of a lecture-tour of the United States, Gowri Ramnarayan presented a talk and reading of Water Lilies at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, whose travelling Impressionist exhibit in 2006 inspired the writing of the play.

For tickets (Rs. 100), call 98400-89030 or 98404-74186, or purchase at venue. 

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