Step Inside, Scene 2

Ever since reading Ira Hauptman’s “Partition”, I knew that one day I wanted to be a member of the team that would bring this beautiful play to life in Houston. Some eight years later, here we are!

Over the past few weeks, many people have approached me with the following question: So what is this play about anyway?

A directing teacher once told me that the first rule in approaching a well-written script is to admit that it’s beyond you – that you probably don’t know what it’s about. There are questions you will begin to ask, and there are discoveries you will make together with the cast, but don’t expect to find explicit answers by the end of the rehearsal process or by the end of this lifetime.

I could tell you the play is about Ramanujan, one of the most famous and mysterious mathematicians India (perhaps the world) has ever produced. I could say it’s a play dripping in numbers and covered in words. I could say there’s a sexy Indian goddess who has all the right answers and an obsessively insane and neurotic French mathematician. I could say it’s a colorful mosaic of cultural tapestries and enigmatic patterns. I could tell you it’s about the bizarre, creative, and destructive tension that exists between East and West, between Faith and Reason. Or I could come back to what every play and every day seem to really be about – friendship and love.

The articulation of these themes is not particularly useful as we prepare to enter the rehearsal room. They don’t move us anywhere. So I offer three questions:

1. How do you know what you know?

2. What separates you from me?

3. What’s your favorite number?

Theatre is one of the only art forms that changes, moves, and breathes with the audience. It’s an incredible dialogue. And if the stars align, it can be breathtaking. We look forward to our upcoming rehearsal process, but even more, we look forward to meeting you and diving into an infinite series of questions.

Come meet the cast, step on stage yourself, and enjoy some food and drinks with the Shunya team at Avant Garden this Saturday, May 4th at 7 PM!

Truly, madly, deeply…

Little Victories

Shunya is always excited about supporting local South Asian arts groups!  Life is all about celebrating the Little Victories.  And what better way to do that than to hang out with friends and listen to an awesome band!

Little Victories, a Houston based rock band, has its first full length show this Friday, May 3rd at Jet Lounge.  Details below!  Don’t miss it!

Check out the Little Victories Facebook page here:
BUY TICKETS ONLINE, BUYING AT THE DOOR IS NO GOOD. 🙁 Buying online guarantees we will play a decent set length. 🙂
Half of the proceeds go to
GO FORTH LITTLE VICTORIES! **little trumpet plays**

Step Inside, Scene 1

It is with great pleasure that Shunya announces its cast for the upcoming August show – Partition.   Over the next few months as we prepare for the show, we will be sharing experiences, opinions, and other outrageous happenings in and around the rehearsal room.

But to jump start things, we want to invite all of you to step inside Avant Garden on Saturday, May 4th from 7 PM until they kick us out.   You can meet members of the cast and crew and learn how you can become involved with this particular show and with the organization as a whole.   We’ll have food and drinks – but more importantly there’s an open stage and microphone, because that’s what it’s all about.  Step in and step up and tell us what you’re thinking about.  You can sing, hum, act, fly, juggle, slam, or twiddle your thumbs.  Whatever puts some fire in your step and some zip in your soul.

We look forward to seeing you May 4th and continuing the conversation!

Partition by Ira Hauptman.  Opens August 2nd @ 14 Pews!  Featuring:  Taher Lokhandwala, John Kaiser, Bradley Winkler, Anjana Menon, and Jeff Dorman!

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Shunya’s Writing Group

Thank you so much for all those who came to our last meeting. Due to various personal committments and the intense rehearsal schedule for Shunya’s upcoming play, we have scheduled our next meeting for Saturday, January 22, 2011. Yikes, that’s next year!

In the meantime, we discussed numerous possibilities for common themes/threads that could tie our final presentation/show together.

Some of these ideas include:

What is family?
-Nuclear Family, Extended Family, Family of Humanity
-Appearance versus Reality
-How American individuality affects family life
-Family life versus Public life. Are they really separate? How do they affect each other?

What is the woman’s most important role in society?
-Can you have both?
-Why is the woman’s role of homemaker and mother often given little respect in the “real world”?

The Individual versus Community
-How to find this balance
-In countries like India, often the individual is defined by his or her role in the family and extended family, accompanied by a loss of individuality
-In America, individualism has become so ingrained in how we interact in family life and community life. Sense of community is often lost
-How does the woman help build and sustain community? What it is that women possess (versus men) that help create this sense of community?
-America/Hollywood – It’s all about me. If only you could hear MY story! Self-reliance.
-I am who I am because of who we all are. I would not have a story without my family. Our dreams are interwoven.
-How does faith and belief in a transcendant God bind us together and help define us both as individuals and as a community?

Common theme that came up: Running, Marathons, The Journey of Life, Where are we going? What is the ultimate destination? Who helps us reach the finish line? Does the path change? Sometimes, it’s not about winning, it’s about slowing down, to share the journey with the ones we love.

So over the next couple months, we will be taking some of these ideas and creating our own stories. As we write, we will have a better understanding of how to weave them all together in an interesting, dynamic, and artistic way. Some people may choose to write monologues or dialogues or songs or poetry or prose. Or maybe you just have a few ideas jotted down. Whatever it is – it’s awesome! When we come together, the individual ideas and words will become part of the mosaic we build together. As you begin your writing, feel free to share what you have written on the google group, as it may spark ideas with others. I will use Thanksgiving break to do some writing of my own, so will post soon after that:)

If you’re interested in joining the conversation, please email!