Ishti Presents PRAKRITI: A HISTORY OF THE PRESENT Review – Sisterhood!

Editor's Note:  For more insight into the intense thought that is the basis of this performance and to learn more about Classical Indian Dance read this informative interview at "Ishti PRAKRITI Preview". 

Co-directed by Preeti Veerlapati and Kinnari Vora, Prakriti: A History of the Present combines video interviews and a variety of experimental and folk dance styles into a four-part response to womanhood in the year 2018. Staged in several rooms at Indian Boundary Park and featuring some promenade-style elements of audience movement from space to space, the evening offers viewers a visceral way to experience another’s life and culture.

PRAKRITI Offers A Multifaceted Approach to Womanhood

Inspired in part by the 2016 election, one of Prakriti’s most empowering features is its female-centric ensemble. While video interviews that bookmark the performance and are displayed on a large projector screen feature male and female-identifying individuals, the core of Prakriti is the dancing of ten women. Audiences are treated to a glimpse at sisterhood amongst this group, choreographed across four acts: “Awakening,” “Tribal,” “Reaction,” and “Balance.” While each choreographic work differs in style and content, the connective tissue of the evening is the powerful strength of sisterhood on display.


Ishti Lets Dance and Culture Speak for Itself

“Awakening” and “Tribal” skew towards more contemplative pieces, in part because of Bob Garret’s original music. In these pieces, cultural boundaries are overcome via the universal language of movement, music, and dance. Even as more story begins to enter Prakriti with “Reaction,” this cultural fluency remains to anchor the performance. Presented with only the context of a series of video interviews about personal identity and reacting to those some would deem “other,” you are able to project some of your own ideas and experiences onto the piece.

For this reviewer, especially, the events of last week’s Supreme Court hearings reverberated deeply throughout Prakriti. Indeed, in a talkback following the performance, many men and women in the audience expressed similar feelings of catharsis amidst a tumultuous week of “he said/she said.” Hearing solely from women’s voices and bodies was thus as rejuvenating and hopeful as it was cathartic. And seeing everyday individuals interviewed and speaking about our nation’s divisiveness with a candor both measured and empathetic added even more hope to the evening’s entertainment.

Tuli Bera
Anu Bhatt
Susanna Hostetter
Nishika Jani
Pooja Jani
Yarina Liston
Viktoria Mitlyng
Krithika Varsha
Preeti Veerlapati
Kinnari Vora

Photos Credit Doug Hanson, Eric Salmon and others courtesy of ishti@

Brent Ervin-Eickhoff is a director, writer, and educator based in Chicago, IL. He has worked with A Red Orchid Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co., Facility Theatre, and others as a director, assistant director, and in a variety of artistic capacities. Brent served as Co-Artistic Director and then Managing Director of Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble for three years, of which he was a founding member. His productions of Herculaneum and Bison? Bison. Bison! with Blue Goose were praised by critics and audiences. Bison? Bison. Bison! was selected and performed as part of Chicago’s Night Out in the Parks Initiative. An award-winning filmmaker, Brent’s films have screened as part of the Frog Baby Film Festival and Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project. His play Puget Sound was workshopped as a staged reading as part of A Red Orchid Theatre’s Incubator Program in 2017. Brent graduated from Ball State University Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Directing and Theatre Education, as well as Ball State’s prestigious Academic Honors in Writing.

Read more about him and other Picture this Post writers on the Picture this Post Masthead.

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