August 16 2015
We take a general look at other Asian performers (see new voices, laughter and rich sounds) and Asian inspired works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015…
THERE are quite a number of Asian comedians appearing at the festival and it’s best to study the Edinburgh Fringe Festival programme to see exactly what appeals.
Mention though should be made of Sajeela Kershi, whose “Immigrant Diaries” goes north of the border after successful runs in England. A humanistic and funny response to the climate of hysteria surrounding migrants, Kershi will be joined by ‘guests’.She also presents her own show, “Shallow Halal”, an exploration of extremities as an agnostic sitting on the faith fence.
Beyond comedy, there is some drama/music and some of these productions or performers we have covered before.
Among them is theatre company Tamasha’s “My Name is…” about the disappearance of Scottish schoolgirl Molly Campbell. Everyone assumed she had been kidnapped by her Pakistani father, while her Scottish mother was desperate to have her returned. Actor, founder and former longstanding Tamasha director, Sudha Bhuchar interviewed both mother and father much after the brouhaha and has created a play in their own words. It is a powerful parable for our multi-cultural world and its challenges. Tamasha will take the play on a full Scottish tour after Edinburgh.
A mix of music, dance and drama, “Umrao – The Noble Courtesan” is inspired by the 19th century Mughal court, where courtesans enjoyed an elevated status and were not just dancers, but poets and teachers. This new production by the Asian Music Circuit is also based on the great 19th century novel,“Umrao Jaan” which still has popular resonances and has been made into more than one film.
Emerging playwright Atiha Sen Gupta is in Edinburgh with a new play, “Counting Stars”. A drama set in a nightclub, Sen Gupta’s political writing, homes in on those at the bottom of social scale and a ‘doomed love’ between Abiodun and Sophie.
One of the more unusual productions is “Butterfly” by Ramesh Meyyappan. A version of the classic opera, “Madame Butterfly”, it is told through handcrafted puppets, poetry and a dedicated score.
An original play hitting the fringe is “Bismallah! An Isis Tragicomedy” which pits two soldiers from different sides of a clear divide together for an hour. So in the mix is radicalisation, disenfranchisement and the rising price of a standard meal, apparently.
On the dance front, Amina Khayyam takes her unique and stirring Kathak-inspired version of Lorca’s play, “Yerma” to Edinburgh. Performed by three dancers to live music, it shows what can be done with imagination and courage.
Fashion designer and dancer Saran Kohli can be seen in “Smother”. A hip hop contemporary dance production, it explores the relationship between two men.
Composer-musician Danyal Dhondy’s Lucid Arts and Music are in Edinburgh currently performing their light comic opera (in English), “The Secretary turned CEO”.
Among the musical acts is “Triveni“, made up of Prabhat Rao, Pulkit Sharma, and Drupad Mistry. An exploration of Indian classical music through tabla, sarod, and vocals, improvisation is order of the day.
Inspired by stories of yore is “Shakuntala: A Rock Opera in English”, mounted by the American High School Theatre Festival. It is Described as a “riveting eastern classic and western rock scores!”.
Perhaps taking similar inspiration from the East, but with a more comic slant is “Guru Dudu’s Silent Disco Walking Tour” which sees Australian David Naylor don the persona of a yoga master who loves to work it.
Picture top: Sajeela Kershi; from original ‘My Name is’; and Umrao – The Noble Courtesan
The festival continues until August 31 but some performances conclude on August 30.
For detailed listings of venues and times, please go to http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/programme
Previously with interviews
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015: New Voices, laughter and rich sounds