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Finding Ananda – Play Reading

swami_vivekanandaWe meet again for another fun-filled evening of play reading! The play of the month is Finding Ananda by Vijay Padaki.

Synopsis: Vivek is a young Indian-American in Chicago, sent to India by his parents to discover his roots. They know the director of a Vivekananda theater project and request an internship for their son. Vivek arrives in India a skeptic, but will it be long before he changes his mind?

When: Saturday, May 18, at 4:00 pm
Where: Sara’s place

Want to come, or learn more about our readings? Email Anjana at anjana@shunyatheatre.org.

Facebook and Theatre

Facebook Wants a New Face
rishibando / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

It’s incredible how much social networking has changed the way we communicate and interact with one another. As a theatre company, we really have just begun to take advantage of the benefits of these methods of outreach and community engagement. I hope it continues, because I think it’s awesome. I also think it’s dangerous.

Facebook, in essence, is a kind of stage. You can post thoughts, jokes, opinions, pictures, and receive feedback from a collective of friends, an audience. This is exhilarating. Those who have never set foot on stage get to experience theatrical high jumps from their living room couches.

Even better – there’s no rehearsal. And here lies the danger. When we prepare for a show, we spend four to six weeks in rehearsal. We challenge each other mentally, physically, and emotionally. Only when we have gone through this collaborative preparation, do we dare put ourselves before an audience. Standing in front of an audience is scary. It can destroy you if you are not firmly grounded. This is why community is so essential. If there are blows to be had, then we take them as a team.

Facebook is a community. However, it’s a fragmented community. Individuals present themselves to the world. At Shunya, we present ourselves as a collective.

We encourage all of you to share your voice on stage – virtual and otherwise. But remember – rehearsal is the play.

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…
Sara

Little Victories

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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: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Victories/499362660123235?fref=ts
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 www.cordusa.org.
GO FORTH LITTLE VICTORIES! **little trumpet plays**

John Kaiser in Night of the Iguana

John KaiserJohn Kaiser, a veteran Houston actor, will be playing the part of G.H. Hardy in Shunya’s next production, “Partition.”  Be sure to catch him on stage at Theatre Southwest in Tennessee Williams’ “Night of the Iguana.” 

As a floorist and performer, his credits include The House of Blue Leaves at Theatre Southwest; Entertaining Mr. Sloane and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at The Country Playhouse; Arcadia and Watch on the Rhine at Main Street Theatre; The Grand Manner and Me, Myself & I with Edge Theatre; and The Merry Widow at Houston Grand Opera. He has voiced many Japanese anime characters, in such recent videos as Intrigue in the Bakumatsu, The Book of Bantorra, and Night Raid 1931. For Sight into Sound radio, he does a weekly show reading National Geographic for the blind.

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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