Audio | John Van Burek, Director of "Post Office" Drama Production by Pleiades Theater Toronto Adapted from Tagore's "Dak Ghar"

By Arijit Chakraborty


Click on Play to listen to director John Van Burek talk to Arijit Chakraborty
WBRi Audio On-Demand Broadcast

JOHN VAN BUREKWashington DC, June 13, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) John Van Burek lives in Toronto and is a director, translator and theater teacher. In 1997, he founded Pleiades Theater whose main goal is to celebrate global cultural diversity through plays that originate in languages other than English.

A scene from His current project has been to direct the English drama "The Post Office" translated from  "Dak Ghor" by Rabindanath Tagore. Translated by Dr. Julie Banerjee Mehta (also recently interviewed by WBRi) this is the first professional level performance of "The Post Office" in Canada. The play was  performed with an international cast from May 7 through June 4, 2011 at the Berkely Street Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. 2011 also marks the 100th anniversary of the writing of "The Post Office" which has been translated into some forty languages and performed all over the world.

With his international cast and production staff, John has even integrated dance and music into this performance, though there was no indication of dance or music in the original script.

During this candid discussion with Arijit Chakraborty in the studios of Washington Bangla Radio, John states, “In directing The Post Office, I have taken inspiration from the freedom that Tagore allows himself in his creative process.” The program for The Post Office makes note of Rabindranath’s one and only visit to Canada in 1929 for an international conference on education. Speaking to huge overflow crowds in Victoria and Vancouver, some forty years before the term “multiculturalism” was ever used, Rabindranath called on Canada to fulfill its promise as a new beacon for the world and as a society that would welcome cultures from across the globe, building on the best of what they could offer.

It is John’s belief that this production of The Post Office, with its international cast and creative use of dance and music reflects the Canada that Tagore saw as the most inspired way to the future.

John Van Burek has been decorated by l’Ordre de la Pleiade and received numerous awards over the years including several Dora Nominations, a Chalmers Award, the Toronto Bench Award for Distinguished Contribution to Canadian Theater, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, and the prestigious Silver Ticket Award from the Toronto Association for the Preforming Arts. John sits on the Board of the Toronto Arts Council where he is also Co-Chair of the Theatre Committee. He is a founding board member of the newly launched Fondation Michaelle Jean Foundation.

The Post Office
Written by Rabindranath Tagore
Directed by John Van Burek
Translated by Julie 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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