Tamasha Strike Mistry’s Balance in First SeasonDate: 17 November 2005
Rohinton Mistry’s 1995 Booker Prize shortlisted novel, A Fine Balance, is being adapted for the stage by Tamasha as part of the premier British Asian company’s first full season of programmed work. The devised adaptation, presented in association with Hampstead Theatre, will receive its premiere in the new year at north London new writing venue, running from 11 to 28 January 2006.
A Fine Balance follows this month’s production of The Trouble with Asian Men, presented by Tamasha at artsdepot until 26 November 2005, and precedes Tamasha’s children’s show Child of the Divide, which will run at the Polka Theatre from 5 May to 3 June 2006.
Tamasha’s many previous acclaimed productions have included Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral, Strictly Dandia and Ayub Khan Din’s East Is East, which was subsequently made into a film. Despite its successes, to date, the company has only been able to programme on a show by show basis. The new season is part of Tamasha’s overall expansion with each of the three productions continuing its commitment “to disclose the untold stories of the Asian diaspora and to develop cultural understanding through theatre, whilst presenting a varied range of scale and form”.
A Fine Balance is set in 1975 in India where a state of emergency has been declared. In an unidentified city, spirited Parsi widow Dina Dalal takes a boarder and two Hindu tailors into her ramshackle flat, determined to retain financial independence and to avoid a second marriage. As the government’s programme of slum clearances and mass sterilisations ensues, the four find themselves crossing the divides of caste, class and religion to form unexpected friendships.
Directed by Tamasha joint artistic director Kristine Landon-Smith, the cast for A Fine Balance are Saga Arya, Sudha Bhuchar (the other artistic director), Shiv Grewal, Divian Ladwa, Narinder Samra, Amit Sharma, Rehan Sheikh and Sameena Zehra.
The Trouble with Asian Men has been created by Landon-Smith, Bhuchar and Louise Wallinger based on interviews with a variety of men and women from the British Asian community. Child of the Divide, suitable for children aged 8 to 14, is written by Bhuchar based on the story by Bhisham Sahni.
Speaking at the launch of the new season, Sudha Bhuchar said: “We are thrilled with Tamasha’s development over recent years. Not only is it an affirmation of the work we do and the demand for that work to be seen, but also that the Asian experiences has become an essential part in the make up of British culture.” In May of this year, Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith were jointly awarded the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in Arts and Culture 2005.
- by Terri Paddock