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December theatre listings: Amma; Hakawatis – Women of the Arabian Nights; Sons of The Prophet, The Art of Illusion; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on ship; Satinder Chohan shares

December theatre listings: Amma; Hakawatis – Women of the Arabian Nights; Sons of The Prophet, The Art of Illusion; The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on ship; Satinder Chohan shares

Check out what’s happening and the online playwright masterclass is tomorrow (see the bottom)

By Suman Bhuchar

Moving tale of loss and recovery

Amma (promotional image) – audience watch show on headsets at Tara Theatre Pic©Manuel Harlan

DIRECTED by Abdul Shayek and written by Kamal Kaan, ‘Amma’ (‘Mum’) is a virtual reality experience portraying Bangladeshi women’s experience of the War of Independence and the rebuilding of lives in 1970s and 1980s Britain. This is an immersive experience developed from first hand testimonies and filmed across locations in Bangladesh and the UK. You need to wear headsets for the 50-minute show produced by Tara Theatre and currently showing there.
‘Amma’ by Kamal Kaan, (November 30) until December 17, 7.30pm and 4pm (Saturday), Tara Theatre, 356 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London SW18 4ES
More info/tickets:

Mixing it up and giving it back for womankind
Hakawatis – Women of the Arabian Nights

Pooja Ghai (right) directs ‘Hakawatis – ‘Women of the Arabian Nights‘ (©EllieKurttz)

THE WORD – Hakawatis is a noun and means storyteller and made from the Arabic terms, ‘hekaye’ meaning story, and ‘haki’, meaning to talk. This is a re-telling of the classic Arabian Nights stories, by writer Hannah Khalil with contributions from other writers Hanan al-Shaykh, Suhayla El- Bushra and Sara Shaarawi .
As the play blurb says: “A tyrant revenges his wife’s infidelity by wedding, bedding, and beheading a new bride every day. Years later, only five brides-in-waiting remain.”
The cast of Hakawatis: Women of the Arabian Nights comprises Houda Echouafni as Wadiha the Dancer, Alaa Habib as Fatah the Young, Laura Hanna as Zuya the Warrior, Nadi Kemp-Sayfi as Akila the Writer, and Roann Hassani McCloskey as Naha the Wise. This is a co-production between Tamash and The Globe Theatre and is directed by Pooja Ghai.
It started on December 2 and is in rep (not daily, check listings) until January 14 2023 – 7.30pm/2pm (check listings), presented in candlelight at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside London SE1 9DT
More info/tickets:

Supporting the theatre in difficult times
Hampstead Theatre – Sons of the Prophet, and the Art of Illusion

Irfan Shamji and Raad Rawi rehearse ‘Sons of the Prophet‘ – ©MarcBrenner

THIS theatre, which has pioneered much new writing – including the likes of Hanif Kureishi, has had its annual funding cut by 100 per cent (£766, 455).
Its artistic director Roxana Silbert has quit, arguing the that it will have a devastating impact on its ability to nurture emerging and new writing. There have been several stories in the national press. In meantime, do check out the current shows…
There is the European premiere for ‘Sons of the Prophet’ by Stephen Karam. It features Irfan Shamji (‘Chasing Hares’) as Joseph Douaihy, a gay American Maronite Christian in rural Pennsylvania, with a pretty complex life which is further complicated when his father dies of a prank. Directed by Bijan Sheibani this comedy drama about a Lebanese-American family was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2012.
‘Sons of the Prophet’ by Stephen Karam, (December 3) – until January 14, 7.30pm/2.30pm (check listings) Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3EU.
More info/tickets:

Now you see it, now you don’t
The Art of Illusion

COMING to the UK for the first time and translated by Waleed Akhtar from the original French is a play set in 1984 and begins with the football match between France v Yugoslavia taking place on TV. A man meets a woman in a Parisian café. He is returning a bag that she lost on the Paris Métro, but he doesn’t reveal he stole it. Instead, he tells her the story of Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin, watchmaker, inventor, and master magician of the 19th century. We then go on a journey to delve deeper into the art of illusion. It won three Molière Awards when it premiered in Paris in 2014 and features the wonderful Rina Fatania as part of the cast. Written by Alexis Michalik and directed by Tom Jackson Greaves, it begins this Saturday (December 17).

Zadie Smith contemporary pub-based drama hits Kiln again
The Wife of Willesden

Clare Perkins as Alvita rehearses with the company in ‘The Wife of Willesden‘ ©MarcBrenner

A REWORKING of medieval Chaucer’s ‘The Wife of Bath’, this exuberant and successful show is back for a second year, with the wonderful Clare Perkins as the eponymous wife, Alvita, while the whole of the Kiln theatre is turned into the Colin Campbell pub which is a real pub across the road and the show takes place in the round.
Get ready to hear Alvita, tell you about her love life she’s been married five times and asks the perennial question what do women want most?
Pour yourself a pint and listen…
This played out to sold out shows last year and is directed by Indhu Rubasingham and will go on tour to the US following its Kiln, Kilburn run.
The Wife of Willesden by Zadie Smith, December 14-February 11 (2023) 7.30pm/2.30pm (check listings) Kiln Theatre, 269 High Road, London NW6 7JR

All aboard to New York
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Cast of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel‘ (2020) ©Johan Persson

TREATING the passengers onboard the Queen Mary 2, going from Southampton to New York this month will be the cast of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’.
Based on the novel by Deborah Moggach that inspired the hit films, this is the story of senior citizens from the UK who turn up at the Jaipur Hotel for a bit of life, love and sun. Featuring a cast of veteran actors including Hayley Mills, Paul Nicholas, Rula Lenska and Harmej Singh Kalirai, this show has been touring the UK and will resume its national tour from 17 January 2023 to June 2023 (Queen Mary 2 – December 15-20)
Tour details:

Tomorrow: Successful woman playwright in masterclass discussing ‘dramastorian’

Satinder Chohan

WRITER Satinder Chohan explores what it means to be a ‘dramastorian’ – a writer who seeks to disrupt conventional representations in theatre by excavating and dramatising marginalised or forgotten lives and experiences. She discusses her plays including ‘Zameen’, ‘’Made in India and ‘Lotus Beauty’ through the shaping role of research in storytelling, inspired by powerful real-life voices, stories and communities.
Bursaries are available – see theatre website for details (£35 tickets) This is an online masterclass.
On Being a Dramastorian with Satinder Monday, December 12, 7pm-9.30pm.
Booking/details: click here

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture