Categorized | Culture

SOUTH ASIAN DRAMA FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS IMMIGRANT ISSUES

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

The ninth annual Hindustani Drama Festival, organized by RangManch-Canada took place in Mississauga’s Maja Prentince Theatre on Saturday. This year’s festival featured plays in five languages–Urdu, English, Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati.

 

Jeewan Saathi Clinic, the house production, presented by RangManch and written and directed by Jawaid Danish, one of the main forces behind the festival, was a comedy centered on immigrant issues. Set in a marriage bureau, the play brought to stage three female characters of different ages and life situations looking for suitable life partners. Attending to them are the middle-aged female owner of the bureau and her young male assistant. A fourth female, not seeking a partner, but hoping to meet a friend, also joins this group at the Clinic.

 

As the play progresses, the stories of the three women seeking husbands are revealed to the audience. These stories aren’t just tales of individual struggles and accomplishments, but a reflection of the very issues faced by many new immigrants coming to Canada. The play highlights how the dream of “inhaling the clean air of the first world” can at times turn into the reality of struggling to make ends meet, what with the necessity of “Canadian experience” and other day-today problems facing newcomers. One particular character also reveals the many marriages of convenience that take place among immigrant communities. This lady recounts how she wanted to be a singer but was forced to become a nurse by her parents, then married off to a doctor from rural India. Once her husband landed in Canada, the woman funded his studies, only to be ditched by him after he had a firm footing in this country.

 

Executed with the aid of spartan sets and some good acting, well-written dialogues and tautness of pace, Jeewan Saathi Clinic takes an honest, uncompromising and realistic look at the immigrant life, often idealised by potential newcomers.

 

This year’s festival also included two other full-length dramas–Anarkali (English) and I (K)now Englis (Gujarati). Additionally, two solo performances were staged–Magazine Vendor (Hindi) and Adha Mitti Adha Sona (Punjabi).

By Bhaswati Ghosh

 

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