International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation project
By Anupama Chandrasekhar
Directed by Indhu Rubasingham
17 Feb – 20 Mar 2010
Press Night Monday 22 February, 7pm
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
SPOTLIGHT ON INDIAN CALL CENTRES IN NEW PLAY AT THE ROYAL COURT THEATRE BY ANUPAMA CHANDRASEKHAR
Disconnect, a new play by Indian playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar, opens at the Royal Court in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from 22 February (previews from 17 February).
Her second play for the Royal Court focuses on a group of bright young graduates working in a Chennai call centre. Thousands of miles away, in a window-less office, ambitious young achievers in India are renamed and rebranded, and, with a new accent and invented back story, they work through the night to claw back the cash spent by Americans crippled by debt.
Paul Bhattacharjee plays call centre supervisor Avinash. Currently appearing in Dominic Cooke’s production of Arabian Nights at the RSC, his previous credits include The Burrow, Iranian Nights and Blood at the Royal Court, The Malcontent for the National Theatre, Edward III and The Island Princess for the RSC, Sweet Dreams for Urban Turbans, Leyna, Deyna and The Little Clay Cart for Tara Arts, On television, his credits include Spooks, Sister Wife and Shalom Salaam and on film Dirty Pretty Things and White Teeth.
Ayesha Dharker plays Vidya. She is also appearing in Arabian Nights at the RSC as Queen Shahrazad. Her previous credits also include Doctor Faustus at Bristol Old Vic and Rani in the original cast of Bombay Dreams in the West End. On television, she is probably best known for playing Tara in Coronation Street and her credits also include Cutting It and Doctor Who. She played Queen Jamilla in Star Wars, Episode III and Mama in Meera Syal’s film Anita and Me. Her more recent film work includes Radhaka in Red Alert, Roxy in Mad, Sad and Bad and Basmati in Mumbai Chaka Chak.
Hasina Haque plays Jyothi. Her theatre credits include All’s Well that Ends Well and England People Very Nice at the National Theatre.
Neet Mohan plays Giri. His theatre credits include Fastest Clock in the Universe at Hampstead Theatre, England People Very Nice at the National Theatre, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.
Nikesh Patel plays maverick supercollector Ross, making his professional stage debut after recently graduating from Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Chennai-based playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar was developed by the Royal Court’s International Department. She attended the International Residency for Young Playwrights on a British Council-Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship in 2000. Her first play Free Outgoing opened at the Royal Court in 2007, transferring Downstairs in 2008 as part of the Upstairs/Downstairs Season.
Her play Acid, developed at a workshop, run by the Royal Court, British Council and Mumbai theatre group RAGE premiered at the Writers ‘ Bloc Festival of New Writing at Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai in 2004. A short play Kabaddi-Kabaddi was presented at the Royal Court ‘s International Season and at the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in 2004. Her short play, Whiteout was given a staged reading in 2006 and aired on the BBC World Service. Other plays include Closer Apart (Chennai, 2003) and Anytime, Anywhere (Bangalore, 2004).
The show will be directed by Indhu Rubasingham, designed by John Napier, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick and sound by David McSeveney.
Director Indhu Rubasingham previously directed Anupama Chandrasekhar’s Free Outgoing at the Royal Court. Her credits also include most recently Detaining Justice at the Tricycle and Sugar Mummies, Lift Off and Clubland all for the Royal Court. She also directed Tanika Gupta s Waiting Room (National Theatre), Fabulations (Tricycle) and Yellowman (Liverpool Everyman/Hampstead Theatre).
Disconnect plays in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre from 17 February – 20 March 2010. Tickets £15 (£10 on Mondays) available from the Box Office on 020 7656 5000 or online at www.royalcourttheatre.com
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For further information, images or interviews, please contact Anna Evans on 0207 7565 5063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project
The Genesis Foundation supports the Royal Court’s International Playwrights Programme.
To find and develop the next generation of professional playwrights, Genesis funds workshops in diverse countries as well as residencies at the Royal Court. The Foundation’s involvement extends to productions and rehearsed readings. Genesis helps the Royal Court offer a springboard for young writers to greater public and critical attention. For more information, please visit www.genesisfoundation.org.uk.
Press night: Monday 22 February 7pm
Paul Bhattacharjee – Avinash
Ayesha Dharker – Vidya.
Hasina Haque – Jyothi
Neet Mohan – Giri
Nikesh Patel – Ross
Director – Indhu Rubasingham
Designer – John Napier
Lighting Designer – Oliver Fenwick
Sound Designer – David McSeveney
Casting Director – Amy Ball
The International Programme at the Royal Court
George Devine’s 1956 vision of the Royal Court was of a ‘truly international theatre’ and in the early years of the English Stage Company the repertoire included new plays by writers such as Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Max Frisch, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, Arthur Miller and Wole Soyinka.
Over the last decade the Royal Court has placed a renewed emphasis on the development and production of international work. By 1993 the British Council had begun its support of the International Residency programme (which started in 1989 as the Royal Court International Summer School) and by early 1996 a department solely dedicated to international work had been created. A creative dialogue now exists between innovative theatre writers and practitioners in many different countries including Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Palestine, Romania, Russia, Spain, Syria and Uganda. Many of these projects are supported by the British Council and more recently by the Genesis Foundation, who also support the production of international plays. The International Department has been the recipient of a number of awards including the 1999 International Theatre Institute award and its director Elyse Dodgson was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honour list.
All plays submitted to the international department are read in the original language by a team of appointed readers. The department then commissions translations of plays selected for further development. The department has pioneered the use of theatre practitioners as translators and the integral involvement of the translator in the play development and rehearsal process. Many of the translations are eventually published.