Tag: Alka Nayyar

Review: A Disappearing Number (TimeLine Theatre)

Dennis William Grimes, Juliet Hart, Siddhartha Rajan and Kareem Bandealy star in Disappearing Number           
      
  

A Disappearing Number

Conceived by Simon McBurney
Devised by Theatre de Complicite
TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington (map)
thru April 9 |  tix: $38-$46  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

March 2, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Widow of No Importance (Rasaka Theatre)

Vahishta Vafadari and Anand Bhatt star in Rasaka Theatre's "A Widow of No Importance" by Shane Sakhrani, directed by Lavina Jadhwani. (photo credit: Scott Dray)          
      
    

A Widow of No Importance

Written by Shane Sakhrani
R. Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Feb 21  |  tix: $20-$30   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

January 20, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Domesticated (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Mary Beth Fisher and Tom Irwin star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Domesticated," written and directed by Bruce Norris. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)          
      

    
Domesticated

Written & Directed by Bruce Norris
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Feb 7  |  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

December 17, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Secret Garden (Court Theatre)

Tori Whaples and Elizabeth Ledo star in Court Theatre's "The Secret Garden" by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
The Secret Garden

Book and Lyrics by Marsha Norman 
Music by Lucy Simon  
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru June 21  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
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                   Read review
     

June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Jungle Book (Goodman Theatre)

Akash Chopra and Usman Ally star in Goodman Theatre's "The Jungle Book," with book and direction by Mary Zimmerman. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)        
       
The Jungle Book  

    
Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman,
   Robert B. Sherman, Lorraine Feather,
   Paul Grabowsky and Terry Gilkayson
Book and Direction by Mary Zimmerman  
at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn (map)
thru Aug11 Aug 18tickets: $30-$125   |  more info
       
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        Read entire review 
     

July 10, 2013 | 6 Comments More

REVIEW: Yoni Ki Baat (Rasaka Theatre)

Serious but Scattershot, this year’s Yoni Ki Baat
Takes on weightier subjects

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Rasaka Theatre presents

Yoni Ki Baat

 

Judging from last year’s press, Yoni Ki Baat must have been a light and sexy laugh fest. Even local contributing writers Angeli Primiani and Anita Chandwaney remarked on the more serious tone of Rasaka Theatre’s remount this year at Strawdog Theatre. “It’s not an angry show,” says Chandwaney, “some pieces are racier than last year. But this year there are angrier, more political monologues . . . more socially conscious.”

“The show is a little misleading,” she adds. “People really don’t know how radical it is. On one level there are all the jokes about sex, which the general audience can really enjoy. But the risk is in having South Asian American women talking about clits, rape, domestic violence.”

yoni3 Yoni Ki Baat, running through January 31, is inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, although its content is created by and for desi women and is open to continual change. Playwrights all over the world submit monologues to the global pool of work, so that each production varies from city to city, year to year. Rasaka’s current production boasts five local writers’ original work.

While a boon to a segment of women’s culture that receives scarce representation, this year’s Yoni Ki Baat suffers from all the usual pitfalls of “rebranding”. Monologues such as “Bollywood Breasts,” “Apple Pie,” “Can I Eat You First?” and “The Inevitable Rise” continue to make light and humorous the dilemmas South Asian American women face straddling multicultural responses to sexuality and women’s bodies. But it is its mix with heavier material that tends to scatter focus, which tends to result in a production suffering from comoedia interruptus.

Plus, there’s just as much danger dealing in heavier material with too light a touch. Monologues “Helpline” and “On-track” address absolute violations of women’s liberty: the first deals with a woman being forced into an abortion by her family because her fetus is a girl; the second explores the dangerous environment for women in Nepal because of sex trafficking. A little more rage, not less, might have better served these pieces but it seems instead that punches have been pulled.

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That’s unfortunate—first, because most of the performances given by the cast are warm, earthy, and accessible and provide an immediate, genuine connection with the audience. Secondly, it does seem that advantages for desi women in the West still overwhelmingly surpass what desi women can hope for back in the old country.

“Oh, yes, sex selection of children still goes on,” says Chandwaney. “It’s outlawed but ultra sound is available. Then you have those religious extremist Hindus who were attacking women for socializing in bars. They were subjected to The Pink Chaddi Project, where people sent them pink underwear in protest for their harassment. There are times—comparing my life here to theirs—I’m starting to feel like ‘there but for the grace of God’ . . .”

“I used to think that I was such a rebel,” says Angeli Primiani, “but my mother was the real rebel of our family. She was the first in the family to have her marriage be a love match. Her parents kept trying to force her into an arranged marriage. She would just show up to meetings with the potential groom in old, unattractive saris . . . no make-up . . . hair messy. They finally gave up on her so she could marry who she wanted.”

Rating: ★★½

 

 

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above pictures from 2009 production

 

ADDENDUM:   a portion of proceeds from this show will go to Apna Ghar (Our Home), an organization that provides culturally appropriate services to survivors of domestic violence, including multilingual services and emergency shelter..  Apnar Ghar‘s focuses primarily on South Asian women and other immigrant communities,

 

January 13, 2010 | 4 Comments More