Even under the harsh fluorescent lights of the Swing Space activity room, the dress rehearsal for the South Asian Society’s annual spring show, Jhalak, revealed an intriguing, if haphazard, mix of skits, music, and dance designed to include cultural elements from as many cross sections of South Asian society as possible.
The variety show, which will be held in the Harkness Auditorium at the Yale Medical School, has proved popular in past years. While Jhalak itself has been a tradition for quite some time, this will be the third year that the performance will run for two nights.
The night began with a 2000-year old South Indian dance entitled “Krishna Shabdam,” performed by Madhumita Lahiri ’04. Dressed in burgundy and saffron, Lahiri displayed confidence and poise in the midst of the chaos that surrounded her, and served as an appropriate and promising opening act.
Following Lahiri, a voice and violin duo traced a simple, but haunting melody over the hum of two guitars in “Saare Sapna.” While sound problems resulting from the absence of microphones detracted from the piece, burying Manisha Paralikar ’03’s voice, the song served as a subtle transition between the opening piece and the energetic, sometimes silly acts that followed.
Both American television and Indian film made appearances at Jhalak as well.
Hollywood infused the stage when the audience was transported from traditional dance to “The Jerry Springkumar Show,” a Simpson-esque play off the popular and controversial “Jerry Springer Show.” The skit investigated the stereotypical relationship between South Asian parents and their American-born Yalie children, and handled perverted plot twists and typical bad talk show humor with skill.
Fans of lip-syncing will be pleased to see a girl in traditional dress fawning over a South Asian version of the typical Rodeo Drive golden boy. Complete with cell phone, leather jacket, and sunglasses, she performed a series of love songs from a Bollywood film called “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.” While the dubbing was somewhat rough throughout the sketch, the performers artfully and jokingly acted out the meaning of the words, leaving no question about the piece’s intentions.
To highlight the talents of the South Asian Society’s newest members, there were two dance numbers designed and performed exclusively by the freshmen. Despite their relative inexperience in the Yale community, and a few small missteps at times, both the male and female groups put on performances that were impeccably choreographed, successfully weaving together elements of both humor and seduction.
But it is the comedic and friendly nature of the show as a whole that drew such a spirited response from the audience. Though the production was somewhat amateurish, with such a wide variety of events, there is something for everyone.