Interview: Julie Banerjee Mehta - Expert Author Journalist & Translator of Pleiades Theater Toronto's "The Post Office"


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[The Post Office]DEATH IS NOT THE END BUT THE BEGINNING : This aspect of Eastern Philosophy attracted John Van Burek - director of the theater group at Pleiades Theater in Toronto, and he wanted someone to translate "Dak Ghar" ( ডাকঘর ) written by Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore in the year 1911, not only as a part of the celebration of Rabindranath's 150th anniversary, but also to commemorate the centenary of the creation of this play, which Rabindranath Tagore wrote at a time when he faced so many tragedies in his personal life.

Meet Dr. Julie Banerjee Mehta who currently teaches at the Centre for South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. Her Ph.D. dissertation is entitled "Retrieving Precolonial Identity through the Images of the Divine Feminine in Waterscapes of Postcolonial Fiction" and she is a gold medalist alumna of Jadavpur University, Kolkata where she earned her Master's degree in English Literature.

While having a candid discussion with Arijit Chakraborty in the studio of Washington Bangla Radio from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she talks about her feelings when she was requested to translate "Dak-Ghar" into English, so that the concept of Tagore can be introduced to a broader section of the Canadian population. 

Julie started the translation in the summer of 2010 and consulted her mother in Kolkata, who is 90 years old in every step, so that the flavour of Tagore remains even if it is translated into English. This is the first time a Tagore-written drama production is presented in Canada. Julie was overwhelmed when she saw the reactions of the actors during the rehearsal of the play. These performers can neither speak Bengali nor can understand it. But they started understanding every moment of the play within themselves. "POST OFFICE" the English translation of "DAK GHAR" is being performed at the time of this post in Toronto by Pleiades Theatre group.

[The Post Office - the theater group in Toronto]The Post Office
Written by Rabindranath Tagore
Directed by John Van Burek
Translated by Julie Banerjee Mehta
Featuring Mina James, Patricia Marceau, Sam Moses, Errol Sitahal, Dylan Scott Smith, Sugith Varughese and Jennifer Villaverde
Choreography by Hari Krishnan
Set by Teresa Przybylski
Costumes by Milan Shahani
Music by Debashis Sinha
Lighting by Robert Thomson
Production house: Pleiades Theatre, 55 Mill Street, Case Goods Warehouse, Building 74, Studio 311, Toronto, ON M5A 3C4, Canada;  Tel: 416.203.1227; E-mail: info@pleiadestheatre.org; www.pleiadestheatre.org

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