Excited about the lights dimming and going into a new world with others experiencing exactly the same thing? Oh, yes, we are…and some below can still be seen on a screen from home…
By Suman Bhuchar
NOW that arts and cultural venues are opening up albeit with social distancing, masked audiences and paperless tickets, we have collated a list of shows and acv encourages you to do your bit by buying a ticket and enjoying live theatre !
However, many of these shows are available online too.
Kama Sutra, modern love and an ancient devadasi
WADING into the world of romance and dating, ‘Kama Sci fi’, written by Raminder Kaur and directed by Mukul Ahmed, is a show that has an intriguing premise, of an Indian devadasi, Chandra (played by Kuchipudi dancer, Arunima Kumar pictured above) an expert in the 64 arts of the Kama Sutra, turning up in our modern world. She time travels and has to deal with sexting and dating apps and contemporary relationships.
Described as a “comic caper with a nasty sting in the tale”, ‘Kama Sci-Fi’ takes you on a ride with young lovers in ancient, present and future eras to develop a more holistic understanding of the art of love and loving. Devadasis are temple dancers but whose status was controversial under British colonial rule and banned because the Victorians found many forms of Indian dance licentious.
Other cast members are Laboni Barua, Anisa Butt, Suzanne Kendall and Dave Kukadia.
This work in progress show is free and available online tomorrow only (Monday May 31) 7pm-8.30pm
Asian diaspora mix it up: Identity, Ketupat rice cakes, mixed heritage and queerness for one night
PERFORMING Arts group Rumah presents ‘Main Main Engine Room Takeover’ in partnership with Omnibus Theatre, Clapham.
The ‘Main Main Engine Room’ takeover is a one night 60-minute live event on tomorrow (May 31) at Omnibus Theatre in Clapham, south London, showcasing the work of artists: Chris Reyes (pictured above left), Miriam Noorhimli (pictured above right) Camilla and Milla (pictured above centre).
Hip hop dance and theatre artist, Chris Reyes presents a new solo work, ‘Sino Ako’ which means who am I? It explores cultural identity, disconnection and transformation felt between British born Filipinos to the Philippines.
Theatremaker Miriam Noorhimli presents ‘Cara Menganyam Ketupat’ or ‘How to Weave a Ketupat’ – a ketupat is described as a ‘ricecake packed inside a diamond shaped container woven palm leaf pouch’, originating in Indonesia and Malaysia, it is usually eaten at the end of Eid al-Fitr and meant to symbolise forgiveness and blessings.
In this story, Alysha has forgotten how to make a ketupat and it’s the night before Eid…
Finally, Camilla and Milla present, ‘All Asians are the Same’ a dark comedy using autobiographical experiences to present, Queerness in Asianness.
Rumah, which means home in Malay, produces under the artistic direction of Nur Khairiyah (and she goes by the moniker, Khai), is a platform that brings the Asian diaspora together which includes South, South East, East, West & Central Asians, and individuals with mixed and non-British heritage.
Main-Main Engine Room Takeover, May 31, 7.30pm, 1 Clapham Common Northside, London SW4 0QW.
Tickets (£6)/Info: https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/engine-room-main-main-takeover-may/#BookNow
Intimate, personal, profound, epic – Footprints Festival
OVER at Jermyn Street Theatre there is the Footprints Festival, featuring over 40 shows and there are some familiar faces treading the boards in this bijou venue in Piccadilly, London.(For ticket information see bottom of this section, all shows are available online as well).
‘Vagabonds: My Phil Lynott Odyssey’ Actor Robert Mountford’s one man show directed by Chris Larner, is where he goes in search of ‘what makes a hero?’ through the premise of a mythic Irish folk hero, Phil Lynott, lead singer of the rock band, Thin Lizzy and his brother, Dave. Mountford plays all the characters and accents allowing him to explore his cultural identity in this deeply moving, personal and funny show. It is available on Thursday June 3 at 7.30pm.
‘Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling’, is directed by Jatinder Verma, co-founder and former director of pioneering Tara Arts. The play features 12 actors in three parts reading the epic poem – originally written in Sanskrit and one of Hinduism’s most revered texts – in a translation by the late poet, Carole Satyamurti.
“I chose this version as I think it’s the best available in modern English. In addition, the choice to re-tell this epic using in blank verse is inspired – giving those of us who do not know any Indian languages a real taste of the rhythmic power and energy of the original,” said Verma (pictured right).
This is a modern retelling of a royal dynasty who were descended from the gods and explores big ideas such as duty, love and freedom alongside warfare, family and myth.
Presented in three separate sections (with intervals) from ‘The Game of Dice’, where the Pandavas, as a family, lose their wealth leading to ‘Exile in the Forest’ and culminating in ‘The Wheel of Time’, this is event theatre and not really to be missed.
It plays on June 12 only and show times are 2pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm – running time is 80 minutes and every show is ticketed separately.
‘Eng-er-Land’ is written and performed by Hannah Kumari and directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair.
Kumari is a creative associate at Jermyn Street Theatre and this piece is about the beautiful game. The actor, writer and football fan says “football has been pretty welcoming even though I might not fit the mould of your stereotypical football supporter.” (see her trailer below).
Kumari who is mixed heritage, studied theatre at Bretton Hall, Leeds is interested in physical performance and new writing. We can’t wait to meet her.
You can see this on June 15, 17, 24 at 7.30pm and 18 June at 9.30pm
PRESENTED as a double bill are…
‘Evening Conversations’ is a warm-hearted monologue written and performed by actor and writer Sudha Bhuchar (pictured right) and inspired by her banter with her dual-heritage millennial sons who have grown up in leafy Wimbledon, while her life has spanned three continents. The co-founder of Tamasha, one of the earliest Asian theatre outfits, Bhuchar invites her boys to ‘crack open a cold one’ and share their views on life. It’s directed by Kristine Landon-Smith, her long-time collaborator and former Tamasha co-director. Will her fiercely British sons see their heritage as a place of strength or an unwelcome inheritance?
‘Life Laundry’ is inspired by conversations between Shaheen Khan and her daughters Sophie Khan Levy and Nyla Levy. Yet somehow every conversation ends up with the D word? Diversity? or Death?
“If mum started the day with a kale and avo smoothie and not Indian leftovers, maybe she wouldn’t be so mental!” say the daughters.
Insightful, profound and hilarious, this is a unique evening with some of the best female talent in theatre. all three are established actors and Nyla won many plaudits and awards for her ‘Does my bomb look big in this?’ in which she wrote and starred. This piece has also been written by Sudha Bhuchar and directed by Kristine Landon-Smith.
Show times are July 28 at 5.00pm and 8.30pm.
Footprints Festival until July 31, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST.
Ticket index page (for each show by name and click through first page if required): https://www.eticketing.co.uk/jermynstreettheatre/Events/Index
Ticket information and festival pass details: https://www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk/footprints-festival/
Footprints Festival brochure details (pdf): https://www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/JST-Footprints-Festival-Brochure-SINGLE-PAGE.pdf
Inside track: Hearing about the virus like never before
EXPLORING a covid intensive care unit through an innovative sound installation is the debut work, ‘Under the Mask’ (pictured above) by doctor and playwright, Shaan Sahota.
Drawn from her own experiences of working as a frontline newly trained junior doctor in a Covid Intensive Care Unit, this show was partly recorded on location. So, it presents the sounds of working in a ward, the hiss of ventilator machines, alarms going off and families saying goodbye over Skype. This is a remarkable story of fortitude and hope.
Audience members will be sat on stage, each under their own lighting space, and will experience the play directly through personal headphones.
This is a Tasmsha and Oxford Playhouse production with Sita Thomas directing.
More about the play: https://tamasha.org.uk/projects/under-the-mask/
On tour from June 13-July 25 and plays in Peckham, London, Clwyd, Liverpool Oxford and Rose Theatre (Kingston, London).
Playwright speaks: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPDYZ7UH51O/
For ticket/venue details: https://tamasha.org.uk/projects/under-the-mask/
Out West – Gandhi, lockdown, and female empowerment in three different plays
THE LYRIC Hammersmith presents a triple bill of short plays, under the theme of Out West – all the trio are set in west London amd explore race, identity and our sense of place and are written by three prominent playwrights – one of whom is Tanika Gupta.
In her ‘The Overseas Student’, she tells the story of the shy teenager Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) as a young man from Indian in London during 1888 struggling to find vegetarian food, whilst being awed by Westernisation, women and Victorian London.
Tom Mothersdale is a new father Jack in Simon Stephens’ ‘Blue Water and Cold and Fresh’ which explores male white privilege during lockdown and Ayesha Antoine plays security guard Donna in Roy Williams’ ‘Go, Girl’ in a story of female empowerment and everyday heroism.
Out West bill runs from June 18-July 24 7.30pm and 2.30pm (matinees) The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Lyric Square, King Street, London W6 0QL
More info/tickets: https://lyric.co.uk/shows/out-west/
Big Apple Glam and high fashion world under the lights as Nabhaan Rizwan makes West End debut…
NEW YORK fashion takes centre stage in ‘Anna X’ – a new play by Joseph Charlton (‘Brilliant Jerks’). The two main characters are Anna X (Emma Corrin from Netflix’s ‘The Crown’) and Ariel (a West end debut for Nabhaan Rizwan) as two outsiders struggling to keep up in a world of private views and endless parties. Inspired by real events, this is a play on the nature of narcissism and wanting to be a somebody. This is the final play of the Re-emerge season presented by Sonia Friedman Productions to open up the West End – others are ‘Walden’ and ‘J’Ouvert’.
‘Anna X’ July 10-August 4 7.30pm and 3pm (matinee days) Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN
Anna X Info/Tickets: Here
Catch us on our Facebook if you want to talk to us about any of the plays listed here…