Dianne K Webb directing a reading of Aditi Kapil’s Agnes Under the Big Top

Our friend Dianne K Webb is directing a reading of Aditi Kapil’s Agnes Under the Big Top on Saturday, May 13th with Next Iteration Theater Co.’s Intercultural Play Reading series. dianne has previously directed with Shunya (Bhopal and Art) and acted with us (1-888-DIAL-INDIA). Shunya also produced Aditi Kapil’s youth play The Adventures of Hanuman in 2012, so we have all sorts of connections here! The reading series also includes two other plays: Lauren Yee’s IN A WORD and Madeleine George’s PRECIOUS LITTLE on the Thursday and Friday before. We’re looking forward to it, dianne!

Reading, Q&A, and Book Signing for “The Fifth Lash and Other Stories”

The_Fifth_Last_Anis_ShivaniLong-time Houston resident Anis Shivani (twitter) will read from his collection The Fifth Lash and Other Stories at Brazos Bookstore (map) on June 13th at 7pm. The Fifth Lash was recently released by C&R Press and currently on the longlist for international Frank O’Connor short story award.

The Fifth Lash and Other Stories received advance praise from Ron Rash, Gina Ochsner, George Singleton, Murzban Shroff, and others. Publishers Weekly wrote: “These new stories from Shivani, many set in Pakistan, parse the disconnect between public and private behavior, and the desires that must be muted in order for people to survive. Shivani is a perceptive writer who puts his finger on the contradictions his characters navigate to survive daily life.”

Anis’s debut novel Karachi Raj will be released in October 2013. In criticism, Anis’s books include Against the Workshop (2011), the recently completed Literature at the Global Crossroads, and a book in progress called Plastic Realism: Neoliberal Discourse in the New American Novel. Anis’s other books include My Tranquil War and Other Poems (2012), Anatolia and Other Stories (2009), the recently completed Soraya: Sonnets, and a novel in progress, Abruzzi, 1936.

Anis’s work appears in the Southwest Review, Boston Review, Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Epoch, Fence, Boulevard, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, George Review, Iowa Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Subtropics, Colorado Review, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, Cambridge Quarterly, and many other journals. He won a 2012 Pushcart Prize, and graduated from Harvard College.

Big turnout at the December Shunya play reading

We had a large and enthusiastic group at our play reading last Friday. Thanks to everyone who came out. We read a new play — a comedy that is still in progress, and a great time was had by all. If you are interested in joining us for future readings, sign up to receive our email newsletter (link is in the footer of all of the pages of this website).

Samskriti Society of Indian Performing Arts Play Reading

Samskriti Society of Indian Performing Arts and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts Presents Water Lilies: A Trilogy, a play reading by author Gowri Ramnarayan on Sep 25 2011 at 2:00 pm at The Museum of Fine Arts, Brown Auditorium Theater, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77012. Admission is free.

“The trilogy is a three act play and is an attempt to find out if serenity can be reached in a blasts-ridden world” claims Dr. Ramnarayan. In each play, two strangers, a Man and a Woman, claiming different racial origins, meet by accident in a public space in the U.S. As they share confidences and spill secrets, the casual encounters trigger reflection. Western classical piano anchors the mood in each play, along with images of Monet’s Water Lilies, and the poems of Clark Ashton Smith, Ted Hughes, and a verse from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The three plays are depicted by the authors imaginative story narration based on the following themes.

FAWN LILIES:  A Park in Columbus, Ohio: A birdwatching dietician from Vijayawada, whose boyfriend decides to give up love for war, meets a gay vagabond with a wry feel for causes.

WATER LILIES: Monet Exhibition, Houston Museum: Dismissing Claude Monet as a painter of pretty flowers, a Texan investment banker becomes curious about a Srilankan woman’s passion for Monet’s lilyscapes.

BLACK LILIES: Washington Dulles Airport: Two days after 9/11, a young school teacher from Tamil Nadu, on her first foreign trip, finds a friend in a Serbo Hungarian novelist on his way to meet his German translator in Frankfurt.

I remember Monet’s lilyscapes. And a poem by Ted Hughes about the water lily, standing still as a painting, despite diabolic onslaughts- from the air, and under water- from within, and without. And the upanishadic command to be restrained, generous and kind.

Dr. Gowri Ramnarayan is a Feature writer (music, cinema, theatre, literature) with the nationwide English daily “The Hindu”. She has translated two Marathi plays of Vijay Tendulkar, and the Tamil short stories of Kalki Krishnamurti. She has authored children’s books and has served as a jury member of Fipresci (an international association of film critics). Her other achievements include vocally accompanying Carnatic musician M.S. Subbulakshmi (1981-97). WATER LILIES is her fourth play; the earlier ones being DARK HORSE (2005), RURAL PHANTASY (2006) and FLAME OF THE FOREST (2007).

Please do come and enjoy this unique experience of Play reading with video clippings of the English play enacted in Chennai, India on Sunday September 25th 2011- 2-00pm at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Contact Details: Thara Narasimhan Phone : (281) 265-2787.

Shunya Monthly Play Readings

We are coming up on our next monthly play reading on Saturday, 5/21/11. If you are interested in South Asian theatre, this is a great way to get involved with Shunya. To learn more about our play readings, send me an email at
. You can sign up to hear about our play readings via our email newsletter: sign up under our “Contact” menu. The “Volunteer” email list will receive play reading notifications .