[N]othing hit harder than Evil Eye, Madhuri Shekar’s riveting play that turned everything we thought we knew about meddlesome mothers—and frankly, what an audio thriller can be—on its head. In less than two hours, it took us for a wild ride via long distance phone calls, a brilliant ensemble cast, and a refreshing Indian American narrative. Along the way, Shekar whispered deep truths about generational and cultural divides, female intuition, and a mother’s love. For me, that was the ultimate thrill.” —Kat, Audible Editor
Two very cool things happened in the same night, and I got to be at one of them!
Last night, QUEEN won for Outstanding Original Full Length Script at the 2019 New York Innovative Theatre Awards!
This was in recognition of the beautiful production earlier this year by the Astoria Performing Arts Center, directed by J. Mehr Kaur. So grateful to Mehr and her team, and to APAC directors Dev Bondarin and Jesse Marchese for giving this play its New York premiere (and my first New York production!). And especially thankful to our lead actor Mahima Saigal for accepting the award for me in a smashing sari…
and giving a wonderful acceptance speech. 🐝 👸🏽
And the reason I couldn’t be there was due to a very wonderful occasion happening the same evening… I got inducted into New Dramatists!
More to come, but so very happy to be part of this epic institution and in the company of so many playwrights that I’ve only known through reputation and their work so far – and now I get to share a clubhouse with them. It’s wonderful.
And best of all, my parents happened to be in town all the way from Chennai, and they got to be there and share this experience with me and Seamus.
Directed by: Megan Sandberg-Zakian Starring: Emma Van Lare, Raji Ahsan, Nandita Shenoy, Sango Tajima, Rinabeth Apostol, Rotimi Agbabiaka and Lipica Shah Fight Director: Dave Maier Dramaturgy: Vidhu Singh Sets: Lawrence E Moten Lights: Wen Ling Liao Costumes: Oana Botez Original music and sound: Arshan Gailus Stage Manager: Leslie Radin Dialect and vocal coach: Cherie Corinne Rice Artistic Director: Eric Ting
It’s Mother’s Day, and EVIL EYE is an Audible best-seller!
This play is a commission from the Audible Emerging Playwrights Fund, and my first attempt in the audio/radio play format. Inspired by my daily phone calls with my mother, and the darkest, weirdest parts of my brain, this play was one of the most psychologically agonizing things I’ve ever written, AND the most fun. At the same time.
Usha is convinced that the Evil Eye, a curse that brings continuous misfortune, was cast upon her daughter, Pallavi, in the womb. What else could have possibly left her driven, career-oriented daughter edging closer and closer to 30 without a prospective husband? Determined to set Pallavi on the right path, Usha arranges date after date with potential suitors—but after yet another setup fails, it seems her efforts are proving fruitless. But in an unexpected turn of events, Pallavi becomes her own matchmaker when she meets—and quickly falls for—Sandeep, a young Indian-American entrepreneur. And though she expects her mother will be elated with her finally finding a man, Pallavi is distraught and confused to find her mother growing increasingly suspicious of Sandeep’s motives…and his true identity.
Told through a series of phone calls and voicemails, this Audible Original penned by award-winning rising star playwright Madhuri Shekar transitions seamlessly from a light-hearted family dramedy to an unexpectedly supernatural thriller. With an endearing cast of well-rounded characters, sharp, natural dialogue, and a shocking edge-of-your-seat climax, Evil Eye is a can’t-miss tale about cultural miscommunications, family secrets, and the lingering echoes of trauma.
Evil Eye is an Audible Theater Emerging Playwrights Commission.
Thrilled to return to Victory Gardens in Chicago for their 2019/2020 season, with my brand new commission DHABA ON DEVON AVENUE, directed by Chay Yew.
World Premiere • Dhaba Canteen has been a Devon Avenue institution since the 60s, with their delicious Sindhi food transporting you back to the halcyon days of undivided India. Now it’s on the verge of bankruptcy. And the family that has run it for generations is ready to go to war over its fate. Written by Madhuri Shekar, (Queen) and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Chay Yew, it’s King Lear meets The CherryOrchard in this Chicago story of fathers and daughters, of legacy, and of survival at all costs.
HOUSE OF JOY is getting ready for its world premiere at beautiful CalShakes in August 2019, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian. The script has grown tremendously in just the past month, and a team full of astounding artists are on board to help realize this swashbuckling epic fantasy.
The play: House of Joy is an action-adventure romance set in a harem at the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire. Once upon a time and place, in something like 17th century Delhi, an imperial bodyguard risks her life to fight for what’s right, turning against everything she’s been raised to believe.
HOUSE OF JOY is scheduled for its second production at San Diego Rep in March 2020, co-directed by Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse & Arpita Mukherjee!
And coming up next…
ANTIGONE, PRESENTED BY THE GIRLS OF ST CATHERINE‘S will have a reading on April 29, at WP Theatre. Co-produced by Movement Theatre and Hypokrit Theatre, and directed by the marvelous Taylor Reynolds. RSVP here.
And a project 2 years in the making, something I couldn’t be more excited for…
My audio play EVIL EYE will release on May 3 on the Audible Platform, free for all subscribers. A dynamite cast and creative team led by director Megan Sandberg-Zakian helped me make this a story I’m truly proud of. Sign up for your free trial or keep an eye out the first Friday of May for the play to drop!
Usha and her daughter Pallavi talk on the phone, long-distance, almost every single day, and Usha’s dearest wish is to see Pallavi get married. But when Pallavi starts dating a man who couldn’t be more perfect, Usha can’t shake the feeling that something is off about this young man. Something sinister. Something too frightening to even be real. But who’s going to believe her?
Audible production directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Could not be more excited to share the news that HOUSE OF JOY will be getting its world premiere production at Cal Shakes, in August 2019.
I wrote this play imagining a Shakespeare festival in mind – but it was a fanciful thought. I didn’t actually dream that it would come true exactly as I had imagined it.
But HOUSE OF JOY is epic and fanciful and repurposes legends of history to talk about what I’m most excited and terrified about today. It is big and fun and dark and has loads of stage combat. It was MADE for a Shakespeare festival and I am so thrilled that I’ll get to see it come to life in the Bay Area, where I was born, in a beautiful summer outdoor amphitheater. Grateful to Eric Ting and the artistic leadership at Cal Shakes. More updates to come.