THUMBPRINT a 90-minute contemporary opera-theatre work by playwright/librettist Susan Yankowitz and Indian-American composer Kamala Sankaram will be produced by Beth Morrison Productions and HERE from January 8-18 at BAC, directed by Rachel Dickstein.
Using a mix of Hindustani music and European opera, and a cast of six singing in a variety of classical Western and Asian vocal styles, THUMBPRINT is inspired by the experiences of Mukhtar Mai, a young illiterate peasant who was gang-raped as retribution for an alleged honor crime by her little brother and who became the first woman in Pakistan to bring her rapists to justice. When offered a settlement, she instead asked for a school where girls in her village could be educated so that they, unlike her, would never know the humiliation of having to sign their names with a thumbprint. Despite government opposition and repeated death threats, she has now become an international voice for human rights. Mukhtars remarkable story is at the heart of this boundary-leaping work that embraces East and West, Indian ragas and world folk music, the classical and the contemporary, the styles and pleasures of both opera and music-theatre.
The piece has been awarded a *MAPFUND* grant, sponsored by Poetry in Review Foundation; another from *THE ASIAN WOMEN GIVING CIRCLE*; residencies at *The Hermitage* in Florida and *The MacDowell Colony*; and a workshop at *The Watermill Center* in L.I. in June 2013.
For a short excerpt of the title aria, sung by Kamala Sankaram, use this link: soundcloud.com/saturninus/aria-from-the-thumbprint-of