East West Players (EWP), an Asian American theatre organization based in Los Angeles, is partnering with San Francisco’s EnActe Arts and New York City’s Hypokrit Productions to virtually premiere a new play titled “The Sitayana” (or “How to Make An Exit’) from Sept 25-27.
Written by Lavina Jadhwani, the new production is based on the Hindu epic “The Ramayana” as it will be told through Sita’s — the protagonist’s wife — point of view.
The show will be live-streamed until October 17, with three different viewings being available to audience members. “Amar Chitra Sita,” “Sita’s Mehndi Party,” and “Sita’s Slumber Party” are all available options for viewing, with each presenting a different setting in the play. However, every segment will heavily focuses on gender roles, idealized views of feminity and the ability to have a woman as the hero of a traditional drama.
“The story of Ram and Sita is one as old as time. What Lavina has brilliantly done here is reframed the story through the lens of modern relationships. Along the way upending stereotypes of femininity and providing a refresh to dated views of chastity, commitment, and duty,” EWP Producing Artistic Director Snehal Desai said.
Jadhwani, a Chicago-based director, writer and adaptor, has directed several productions that place a heavy emphasis on minority representation — an important topic for her as she is a second-generation immigrant herself. She has worked for theaters all over the country, including the American Conservatory Theater, the Asolo Repertory Theatre and others.
“Time Out Chicago” named her their “Best Next Generation Stage Director” in 2013.
She will be joined by the director of the production, Reena Dutt, who is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab (New York City), Directors Lab West (Los Angeles), and a Semi-Finalist for Drama League’s New York Directing Fellowship.
“There’s probably no better person to provide an irreverent and yet wholly truthful in themes adaptation to one of South Asia’s most iconic epics than Lavina Jadhwani. We are proud to support a voice as singular as Lavina’s as well as her inimitable collaborators – Reena Dutt and (Dramaturg) Amrita Ramanan,” said Hypokrit Productions Artistic Director Arpita Mukherjee.
Live streaming performances will be available at www.eastwestplayers.org, along with Video-On-Demand options once performances come to a close. Tickets for both are $9.99, and times for each performance will be released accordingly.