Chandigarh, June 1: The Women Directors theatre Festival rolled on to the concluding play Quality Street by Maya Krishna Rao from National School of Drama, New Delhi. The evening had Sh.K.K.Sharma Adviser to the Administrato as Chief Guest alongwith Home Secretary UT Sh.Anil Kumar and other dignitaries .The three days theatre festival has been a great attraction for the theatre inclined audience which highly appreciated the works of Women Directors
Theatre Stage show Quality Street is a solo performance with universal appeal. It’s a non – stop ‘boxing match’ between a mother and her daughter, exciting and moving. The actor switches between characters. With music to accompany the artist the way she talks, sings, raps and makes artistic appeals.
Quality Street has two special qualities – it is funny and universal. This is a story of a mother and daughter, set in Lagos, Nigeria, but it can be transposed, with a few details changed, to several cities across the world. At a deeper level, it is a story that looks at issues that lie at the core of people’s lives – of culture, values, relationships within a family.
Mrs. Njoku’s daughter, Sochienne, has just arrived back having completed higher studies in the U.S. She is a changed person – the trip abroad has brought home to her the value of her roots in Nigerian culture. She disapproves of her mother’s ‘bourgeois’ ways. Mrs. Njoku is quite aghast to see this transformation in her daughter. But to top it all, Sochienne wants to marry a Kenyan (‘why couldn’t she find a good Nigerian boy in the U.S.?’) and that too not in a fancy hall in Lagos, but in their run down country home, ‘where the floor slopes and all the ladies will spoil their high heel shoes in the monsoon!’….
The entire story is a non – stop ‘boxing match’ between mother daughter, done with great humour, yet deeply moving. Finally, there is a delightful twist, and mother and daughter realise how very special their relationship really is.
This is a solo performance, where the events are seen through Mrs. Njoku’s eyes. The show is a salute to all mothers (and fathers) who strive to put up with their children against, sometimes, very heavy odds.
Quality Street was commissioned by the Sangeet Natak Akademi for the Commonwealth Games and was received warmly by critics and the public.
MAYA KRISHNA RAO
Maya Krishna Rao is a significant presence in contemporary Indian theatre, and is most known for her one-woman shows. She acts, sings, dances, creates her own scripts, directs herself. Each show has a distinct language of theatre, ranging from dance theatre, to a rock concert. The uniqueness of Maya’s performances derives also from her training in Kathakali. In her creative work, this allows her to straddle comfortably the worlds of dance and theatre. Her own language and gesture is uniquely contemporary and her shows are known for being on the edge both in terms of content and performance vocabulary. Themes are usually to do with contemporary India – sharp glimpses of urban life where power, attitudes, politics, memory, conflict, joys and sorrows come into play. For more than a decade, she has worked closely with film makers and sound designers in search of a contemporary language of performance. She is also among the few Indian women to do stand-up comedy.
Maya also engages school children and teachers in the use of drama as a teaching device in the classroom. For many years, she has been visiting faculty, National School of Drama, New Delhi, where she teaches Acting. Maya’s shows have travelled the world. She is commissioned to create performances by prestigious theatre festivals at home and abroad. Some of her acclaimed shows are, ‘Khol Do’, A Deep Fried Jam’, ‘Heads Are Meant for Walking Into’, ‘The 4 Wheel Drive…Show.’, ‘Hand Over Fist– Perspectives on Masculinities’, and ‘Lady Macbeth Revisited’. Maya Rao has been the subject of documentaries and documentation. In 1997, Doordarshan commissioned a documentary on her, and in 2002, in an NBT publication, she was selected as one of twenty-one living women who have contributed to making a social and cultural change in India in the last fifty years. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for Acting for 2010.