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Mothers of Freedom

"Mothers of Freedom" is a captivating and original co-created play that weaves together the remarkable stories of two legendary freedom-fighters: Harriet Tubman and Pandita Ramabai.

Harriet Tubman, known as an eminent abolitionist and activist, is celebrated for her fearless efforts in liberating hundreds of enslaved individuals from Maryland's Eastern shore, a pivotal figure during and prior to the American Civil War. Meanwhile, Pandita Ramabai, an esteemed advocate for women's and girls' rights in India, passionately campaigned against child marriages and established a sanctuary committed to empowering and educating child-widows.

This inspiring theatrical piece celebrates the indomitable spirit of these two extraordinary women whose unwavering commitment to freedom and justice continues to resonate across time and continents.

On stage

@The Foundry, 101 Rogers Street, Cambridge, MA 02142
Thursday, June 13th - 7:30 pm
Friday, June 14th - 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 15th - 7:30 pm
Sunday, June 16th - 2:00 pm
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SYNOPSIS

On a snowy morning in January 1888, one of India's most famous advocates for women's rights knocks at Harriet Tubman's back door. Their conversation - woven with stories, memories, speeches from their lives - takes us on a journey of friendship, solidarity, challenge and hope. What happens when two freedom-fighters meet? Mothers of Freedom is an original co-created play based on a real conversation between Harriet Tubman and Pandita Ramabai.

Harriet Tubman - abolitionist, activist, union army general - astonished Philadelphia and the world with her daring rescues of hundreds of enslaved people from the Eastern shore of Maryland. Thirty years later she finds herself still balancing her work as a freedom-fighter and the day-to-day challenges of motherhood, health, and balancing the needs of those around her.

Pandita Ramabai astonished Calcutta at the age of eighteen with her extraordinary memory for Sanskrit verses and her presence as a speaker. She became known as an advocate for the rights of women and girls in India, speaking out against child-marriage and the mistreatment of widows. But when she married a man of a different caste, converted to Christianity, and soon became a widow herself - she became a controversial figure. In 1886, her restless pursuit of further education and funds for her cause brought her to America, and to Harriet Tubman's doorstep.

What did they say to each other? What was it like for this young Indian woman to hear Harriet Tubman's stories? Did they laugh, compare notes, talk about their pain, their anger, their children, their hopes?

Mothers of Freedom imagines that conversation. It finds revolution in the small intimate moments of women talking around the kitchen table - and in their courage in the face of impossible odds. Interwoven with dance, live music, and excerpts of real speeches and writings, this play asks: what can we learn from the women who came before us? How do we sustain the freedom they fought for?

Specifications

Type of show

Actors’ theatre in English, suitable for all ages


Running time

60 minutes

Actors on stage

2 actors, 1 dancer and 2 musicians (drums, vocals)

Minimum technical requirements

8 x 6 m stage space, two wings, mains electricity.

Lighting

The show needs a simple general cover (pre-rigged).

Get in

Access is required from 10am on the day of performance.

Set Strike time

One hour.

Cost

On request.

people

Author

Poornima Kirby / Lalitha Vallabhaneni

Director

Cast

Original Cast

Harriet Tubman - Monica Williams
Pandita Ramabai - Rujuta Narweker

Choreography/ Dancer

Lalitha Vallabhaneni

Original music / Sound design

Lumanyano Mzi
Nishant Shekar

Musicians

Lumanyano Mzi
Nishant Shekar

Stage and lighting design

Lawrence Hutcheson

Review quotes

performance history
(country, theatres)

2024

USA

13/06/ - 16/06/2024
The Foundry
CAMBRIDGE, MA

Documents

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