FIRST

South Asian-American

Theater Festival

In New England

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August 19th- 21st

Mosesian Center for Arts, Watertown, MA

Fast forward to now: Bollywood has a prominent status in American popular culture; major television shows have South Asian characters; and the legislative branch has elected representatives from the community. Yet this exposure has generated equally problematic –if arguably less exotic—stereotypes: ignoring the immense cultural diversity of the region, India is often seen as synonymous with South Asia; anyone from the region is randomly assumed to be a tech expert; and most importantly, South Asian immigrants are collectively labeled “model minority” due to their economic success in the United States, an immigration myth that has only distanced them from other minorities.

In the 1980s, the South Asian presence in the United States was barely noticeable. In American popular imagination, South Asia was a distant site founded on stereotypes. The only well-known brown character in the entertainment industry was Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the convenience store owner in the famed animated series “The Simpsons”. Let alone a definable diaspora, South Asians living in America had no clear role in the nation’s racial history.

Fast forward to now: Bollywood has a prominent status in American popular culture; major television shows have South Asian characters; and the legislative branch has elected representatives from the community. Yet this exposure has generated equally problematic –if arguably less exotic—stereotypes: ignoring the immense cultural diversity of the region, India is often seen as synonymous with South Asia; anyone from the region is randomly assumed to be a tech expert; and most importantly, South Asian immigrants are collectively labeled “model minority” due to their academic and economic success in the United States, an immigration myth that has only distanced them from other minorities.

The task of underscoring the complexity of the region, therefore, falls on the immigrants themselves, and “South Asian-American Theater” is an event committed to that goal. Spearheaded by the Boston-based non-profit theater group “Off-Kendrik”, it is a three-day celebration of the performative arts –play, stand-up, storytelling, seminar—that brings together eight creative groups. Their narratives address a range of issues in multiple languages, from politics in their countries of origin and experiences of immigration to complexities of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. More than simply a celebration of multiculturalism, the occasion, with its insight into the diversity of the South Asian-American diaspora, provides a rare opportunity for education and enrichment, no less for South Asians themselves than for others.

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PERFORMANCES

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Play

English​

Massachusetts

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Kultar's Mime is a devised play that tells the stories of Sikh children who survived the 1984 Delhi massacre. The play incorporates text from two poems : Kultar's Mime by Sarbpreet Singh and In The City Of Slaughter by Haim Bialik. The play,  an unequivocal condemnation of sectarian violence and genocide, has evoked a powerful reaction from audiences all over the world that has affirmed the power of compassion to break the cycle of hatred that continues to plague humanity to this day.

Play

Marathi​ with English Supertitles

Massachusetts

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Rangashwas is a unique dramatic presentation of famous Marathi short stories. Those timeless stories from all kinds of genres like humor, social, political, and suspense will be enacted and narrated with the help of audio-visual effects and props in minimum setting. These situations or events from different stories will be connected through a common thread

Due to unexpected sickness of few actors, Jilebee Arts will have a staged reading of their play rather than full performance. We sincerely apologize for the unexpected nature of the event.

Play

Hindi with English Supertitles

Massachusetts

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Raktbeej was a mythical demon, who was difficult to kill because every drop of his blood that touched the ground, created another replica of his. In this contemporary take in a modern setting the play explores continuous cycle of prey and predator in modern materialistic life.  How people exploit others and abuse relationship to further their own agenda and climb up the social ladder and in turn get used by others and the cycle repeats itself.    

Play

English​

New Jersey

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Gender dysphoria and transgender politics has been carefully avoided in our society for a long time. Mahabharata,  however, has dealt with this issue in a skillful way through the story of "Sikhandi".  The story not only deals with gender crisis but also draws our attention to the general issue of gender politics, which since the days of the Mahabharata has struggled to elevate women from a status of commodity to that of an individual.with a purpose.

Play

Kannada with English Supertitles

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Massachusetts

Panchavati tells the story of Ramayana in the vibrant living art form of Yakshagana. Yakshagana has originated as a folk theatre in Karnataka state in India about 800 years ago and has developed into a main stream theater form in south India since then. It is a unique harmony of musical tradition, eye-catching costumes and make-up, and authentic styles of dance, improvised gestures and acting with its extemporaneous dialogue appealing to a wide range of the community. 

Play

Hindi​ with English Supertitles

New Jersey

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A Hindi translation of the award-winning Kannada play, Odakalu Bimb by Girish Karnad.

Hindi adaptation: Padmavati Rao

The play reveals the story of an unsuccessful Kannada writer who gains international recognition for her debut novel in English. A gripping plot that reflects uncomfortable relationships and human failings.

Special Guests

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Suman Mukhopadhyay

Suman Mukhopadhyay is one of India’s leading theatre directors and has to his credit productions ranging from European drama to major adaptations of Bengali masterpieces, eight full length feature films, several documentaries, TV series, short films, and cine-plays. He won the National Award for Best Regional Film and several other national and inter-national theatre awards.  Suman taught and directed plays at UC Berkeley, University of Toledo, Kalamazoo College, and Barnard College in the USA. He is currently working with Columbia University, New York on a Fulbright fellowship.

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Vijay Kenkre

Vijay Kenkare is a famous Marathi theater writer-director. He is also a film actor and has featured in movies like, Hawa Hawaee, Gola Berij, Bhai -Vyakti Ki Valli etc.

We are sorry to inform that Mr. Vijay Kinkre will not be able to attend as he fell sick few days back. We sincerely apologize for the inconveneince.

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Rohina Malik

Rohina Malik is an award winning Chicago playwright and screenwriter.  She was born and raised in London, England, of South Asian heritage.   Her critically acclaimed one-woman play UNVEILED has been presented at theaters across the United States, and has had international presentations in Switzerland and South Africa.Malik’s plays THE MECCA TALES and YASMINA'S NECKLACE were both nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Play.