Mahabharata: Dharma - Part 2

The Life We Choose

2025-05-14 19:30 2025-05-24 23:30 60 Canada/Eastern 🎟 NAC: Mahabharata: Dharma - Part 2

https://nac-cna.ca/en/event/35937

In-person event

A Why Not Theatre Production 
Originally commissioned and presented by the Shaw Festival Theatre
In association with Barbican, London Following its critically acclaimed runs at the Shaw Festival and London’s prestigious Barbican Theatre, Mahabharata arrives at NAC English Theatre as a once-in-a-generation experience of unparalleled ambition and scale.  Listen to Sharada K Eswar doing a reading of the Mahabharata title (pronounced “Ma-ha-BAR-ah-tha”)....

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Babs Asper Theatre,1 Elgin Street,Ottawa,Canada
May 14 - 24, 2025
7:30 pm EDT

May 2025

  1. May 14 2025
    Wednesday

    7:30pm

  2. May 15 2025
    Thursday
  3. May 16 2025
    Friday

    7:30pm

  4. May 17 2025
    Saturday

    7:30pm

  5. May 18 2025
    Sunday
  6. May 19 2025
    Monday
  7. May 20 2025
    Tuesday
  8. May 21 2025
    Wednesday

    7:30pm

  9. May 22 2025
    Thursday
  10. May 23 2025
    Friday

    7:30pm

  11. May 24 2025
    Saturday

    7:30pm

Close schedule
A repeated image of a person with dark hair in varying costumes set against a scenic horizon with warriors on horses.
Miriam Fernandes © by Peter Andrew Lusztyk. Image concept by Key Gordon
mahabharata-family-tree
Mahabharata Family Tree © Illustrations by Gillian Gallow Design by Yvonne Trinh
mahab-dharma-web-2
Jay Emmanuel.Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web1
Navtej Sandhu and Ellora Patnaik. Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web3
Neil D'Souza as Krishna and Anaka Maharaj-Sandhu as Arjuna in Why Not Theatre’sMahabharata (Shaw Festival, 2023). Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web4
Meher Pavri as the Opera Singer, with Neil D'Souza as Krishna and Anaka Maharaj-Sandhu as Arjuna in Why Not Theatre’s Mahabharata (Shaw Festival, 2023). Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web5
Jay Emmanuel with the Ensemble of Mahabharata. Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
Family programming Music Opera Theatre Drama
mahabharata-family-tree
Mahabharata Family Tree © Illustrations by Gillian Gallow Design by Yvonne Trinh
mahab-dharma-web-2
Jay Emmanuel.Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web1
Navtej Sandhu and Ellora Patnaik. Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web3
Neil D'Souza as Krishna and Anaka Maharaj-Sandhu as Arjuna in Why Not Theatre’sMahabharata (Shaw Festival, 2023). Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web4
Meher Pavri as the Opera Singer, with Neil D'Souza as Krishna and Anaka Maharaj-Sandhu as Arjuna in Why Not Theatre’s Mahabharata (Shaw Festival, 2023). Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
mahab-dharma-web5
Jay Emmanuel with the Ensemble of Mahabharata. Set: Lorenzo Savoini, Costumes: Gillian Gallow, Lighting: Kevin Lamotte, Projections: Hana S. Kim © David Cooper
“Mahabharata is of a quality that certainly deserves a global showcase.” Globe and Mail
  • In-person event
  • English
  • ≈ 2 hours and 15 minutes · With intermission
  • Mature themes
  • Sexual content
  • Flashing lights
  • Smoke machine
  • Haze
  • Loud noises
NAC English Theatre Presentation

A Why Not Theatre Production 
Originally commissioned and presented by the Shaw Festival Theatre
In association with Barbican, London

Following its critically acclaimed runs at the Shaw Festival and London’s prestigious Barbican Theatre, Mahabharata arrives at NAC English Theatre as a once-in-a-generation experience of unparalleled ambition and scale. 

Listen to Sharada K Eswar doing a reading of the Mahabharata title (pronounced “Ma-ha-BAR-ah-tha”).

Mahabharata is a contemporary adaptation of the four-thousand-year-old Sanskrit epic, a foundational text of South Asian culture. Written and adapted by Ravi Jain and Miriam Fernandes, with poetic contributions from Carole Satyamurti’s Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling, this gripping saga delves into the rivalry between the Pandava and Kaurava clans and the devastating war that ensues. Mahabharata is a profound exploration of enduring philosophical and spiritual ideas set against an entrenched conflict that remains tragically relevant today. 

Presented in two parts, Why Not Theatre’s Mahabharata features a stellar all-South Asian diaspora cast. Seamlessly merging East and West, the traditional and the contemporary, the visually stunning storytelling ranges from the most ancient of forms, with listeners gathered around a fire, to spectacular technologically-driven spectacle. This breathtaking journey guides audiences through the distant past to create an exhilarating new future.

Part Two: Dharma 
The Life We Choose 

Mahabharata: Dharma (Part 2) introduces us to a dizzying array of storytelling techniques including immersive projections, dynamic digital soundscapes, and sweeping scenic design, as King Janamejaya learns of the epic war fought by his ancestors. Alongside the King, we experience the legendary battle of Kurukshetra, its catastrophic impact on the planet, and the resilient survivors entrusted with the task of rebuilding. The retelling is crowned with a soaring adaptation of the Bhagavad Gita, the most renowned chapter of the Mahabharata saga, as a Sanskrit opera. 

Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
May 12
May 13
May 14
  • 7:30 pm preview
May 15
May 16
  • 7:30 pm opening night
May 17
  • 7:30 pm
May 18
May 19
May 20
May 21
  • 7:30 pm talkback
May 22
May 23
  • 7:30 pm Audio described
May 24
  • 7:30 pm
May 25
  • Created and written by Miriam Fernandes & Ravi Jain
  • Using poetry from Carole Satyamurti’s "Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling"
  • Original concept developed with Jenny Koons
  •  Directed by Ravi Jain
  • Associate Director Miriam Fernandes
  • Set design Lorenzo Savoini
  • Costume design Gillian Gallow
  • Lighting design Kevin Lamotte
  • Associate Lighting Designer Mikael Kangas
  • Projections Designer Hana S. Kim
  • Associate Projections Designer Ann Slote
  • Sound design John Gzowski and Suba Sankaran
  • Original music John Gzowski and Suba Sankaran (with contributions from Dylan Bell, Gurtej Singh Hunjan, Zaheer-Abbas Janmohamed and Hasheel Lodhia)
  • Traditional music consultant Hasheel Lodhia
  • Choreographer Brandy Leary (with contributions from Jay Emmanuel and Ellora Patnaik)
  • Khana & Kahani Storyteller and Creative Associate Sharada K Eswar
  • Production Manager Crystal Lee
  • Technical Director Daniel Bennett
  • Why Not Theatre Executive Director Karen Tisch
  • Lead Producer Kevin Matthew Wong