Old story, new play

Zen Katha retells a Buddhist tale.

Zen Katha retells a Buddhist tale.  

ZEN KATHA, a play from Lillette Dubey's Primetime Theatre Company, tells the ancient story of Bodhidharma, a prince from the kingdom of Kanchi in 525 A.D. who is considered the true founder of the modern Zen and martial arts traditions.

Written by the well-known playwright Partap Sharma and starring model Sandhya Mridul, Zen Katha is being staged in Bangalore. The play, directed by Lillette Dubey traces Bodhidharma's journey from India to China both literally and metaphysically; touching on his transformation from Brahmin to Buddhist monk.

The first half of the play explores Bodhidharma's relationship with his guru Prajnaratna (who trains him in yoga, kalaripayattu and meditation) and also with his playmate Sanghameeta (played by Mridul) who is secretly in love with him.

The second half of the play opens with Bodhidharma's travels to China to spread Buddhism. Beginning with his dramatic encounter with the powerful Chinese emperor Wu Ti of the Liang Dynasty, it moves on to the austere world of the monks and monasteries in Shaolin — the birth of his Zen philosophy and popular form of martial arts such as tai chi and kung fu.

The 90-minute play will be staged on December 2 and 3 at Chowdiah Memorial Hall at 7.30 p.m.

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