My mother runs in zigs-zags (monologue version)
VAULT Festival, London, 25th February to 1st March, 2020.
How to make your own Ganges water
Festiwalla International Theatre Festival, Berlin, April 2020.
London (venue tbc), autumn-winter 2020.
My mother runs in zigs-zags (ensemble version)
North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford, May 2019.
Sometimes, race and trauma are like leaky old pipes: you can’t even have a friend over for dinner without something spilling out everywhere and flooding your life in the most unexpected way.
A conversation between friends becomes a journey to the Lebanese and Nigerian civil wars. Half-remembered worlds of violent oral history invade the kitchen and layer themselves over everyday life, shining light on the laughter that heals intergenerational traumas, and celebrating the overflowings and excesses of a life shaped by migration.
With an original musical score, a chorus of performance poets and contemporary dancers, and stories passed on from a generation of migrants, My mother runs in zig-zags is a bold new tragicomedy, devised by the best of Oxford University’s BAME actors and performers.
Michael Pilch Studios, Oxford, October 2018.
"‘Steal the groom’s shoes for a gold coin,’ aunties tell me, ears full of filigree, / slip a jalebi in my hand before lunch and watch the syrup drip on lips saffron-gold."
Talaash is a new all BAME dance musical with an all-women cast. It's got queer themes, live music, a chorus of singers, spoken word, contemporary, Indian classical and Bollywood dance crammed into every second, running freely between genres and worlds: Rihanna, then AR Rahman, then Sia, Carnatic classical improvisation, translations from untranslated woman poets, a stage full of dancers, soaring or playful vocal mashups...
It's about gender and queerness, deep fried samosas, about hating your skin or loving your roots, about memory, aunties, the power of the Ganges, a swimming pool in Hounslow and finding joy and strength in the middle of it. Come for the garam garam (extra hot) masala chai (!!), stay for the visually stunning, musically overwhelming, gold jewellery and silk laden celebration of a contemporary, queer, feminist British Asian world.
On death etcetera
No Direction Home festival, Camden People’s Theatre, London, November 2018.
This play is about a mother who lived through the Lebanese civil war, and her daughter, who has not. It’s about the way this mother speaks to her daughter about trauma, and about the funny, heart-breaking stories which she tells as one would tell a fairy tale, or what happened that day at the supermarket. There is much that cannot make it inside these narratives, and this play is about all that is left out, too. With humour, physical theatre and a dash of Arab pop, it explores the ways a daughter interacts with these stories, how they shape and contrast with her own life.
All the stories in the play are based on real conversations between a daughter and her mother who survived the Lebanese civil war.
Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford, April 2018.
Ishtar is a new play based on the ancient Babylonian story of Ishtar (the goddess of love) and her descent into the underworld. Follow Ishtar as she forces her way into the murky underworld through each of its seven gates, and comes face to face with its queen. But what does she want? and will she ever get to leave? Drawing on themes of identity, grief and power, Ishtar takes one of the world’s oldest recorded stories and gives it new life, showing the power, intensity and appeal of this ancient story in the modern world.
Lady in the Sheets
Michael Pilch Studio, Oxford, November 2017.
‘And then he just wants to make love. Doesn’t care at all if I’m not in the mood, if I don’t feel like it. Always ready! That’s how he wants me, ready at the push of a button. I’m the Nespresso machine of the sex world.’
Lady in the Sheets is a short, sweet, hilarious tragicomedy, a new piece of physical theatre and feminist comedy. Centring the voices, lives and humour of women of colour, it celebrates and grieves the beautiful and bitter ways people (try to) make happy lives out of violence and oppression. It’s about sex and laughter, sighing and breathing, living and joking and trying to carve out something for yourself even when everything else is out of control.
Four women co-exist in a block of flats: Sita is trapped in domestic ‘bliss’ by a swarm of men, Fatima cares for her baby by a husband she doesn’t particularly dislike, while the 85-year-old Auntie-ji battles her carer, Flora, in a confused but well-intentioned culture clash: ‘Arre yaar, beti, just find yourself a nice girl and settle down already!’
Drawing on the under-performed political theatre of Franca Rame, the classic British Asian sketch show ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and the cast and writers’ own experiences, the four women’s lives interweave and crumble and flourish in storytelling, emotive physical theatre, song and comedy.