• Wednesday, June 19, 2013
  • Make gifts for people

    A couple of things-

    My play ‘Monkey Love’ will have a reading (a 30 minute excerpt) as part of Ingenue Theatre’s Short Plays: South Asia festival in the exotic land of Brooklyn.

    As part of the promos, they asked for a brief thing about what inspires me to write. So I wrote this.

    Sometimes I fancy myself an invisible anthropologist.

    I was born in San Jose, CA, and moved to Chennai, India when I was nine. I lived in India till I was 20, and currently live in Los Angeles, but even today, I can’t quite figure out what ‘home’ is, exactly.

    I grew up in India always feeling a bit like an alien- but an invisible one. I looked like everyone else for the first time in my life, but somehow I couldn’t relate to the people around me. I was a stranger on the inside, and no one could tell.

    Here, of course, I’m a minority, but in one of the most diverse cities in the country, a place where most people come to, not leave from. I’m different, but in Los Angeles, that lets me blend in.

    And so I observe. Whether in India, hiding behind the way I look, or in LA, just another out-of-towner among many. I’m an invisible anthropologist. Always one step removed.

    And so, I write.

    And here’s what I discovered a few days ago through my friend Chitra on Facebook, that I absolutely love. I love this. This is everything.

    MAKE GIFTS FOR PEOPLE

    A Nice Indian Boy in particular was a labour of love. I wanted to gift the play to my parents. I wrote with them in mind, and with the excitement and anticipation of sharing it with them. It is my gift to them, in the only way I can make one. Through this play I hoped to show them that I not only loved them, but that I respected them, and that I understood them- and understood myself. It’s the best thing I’ve ever written, and it’s a gift to the two people I love most.

  • Friday, June 14, 2013
  • “How’s unemployment treating you?”

    A friend of mine pinged on gchat the other day with this question, and I didn’t get a chance to respond, because I think I was about to shut down my computer and go take a nap.

    Anyway, my answer would have been – I’M LOVING IT.

    Staying at home all day, answering emails, catching up on Netflix and thinking up stories is my unmitigated bliss. I know that I should get a job, that it’s good for me, and yeah of course I’ll be very happy and relieved once I do get a job, but in the meantime I’m loving not having to wear clothes that button up or zip or fasten in any sort of way.

    […Hey, universe, I actually would like a job. I’m just being a baby. So if you do actually have any sentient sense and force of will at all, please disregard my love of sweatpants and nudge one of those HR recruiters into replying to my emails. Thank you.]

    I haven’t updated this blog for a long time, for many reasons (coughlazyasssweatpantscough), but one reason in particular- every post was being permalinked as madhurishekar.com/“post title”, whatever it was. And that started giving me the heebies. Every post had to mean something, because it was gonna be madhurishekar.com/“post”! Too much pressure! Until I finally peeked in the settings today and found out that I could adjust that. So from now on posts are gonna be in the much less intimidating madhurishekar.com/year/month/date/“random number” format. Much better.

    So what’s been happening since my last real update. Well…

    The big ones-

    East West Players will be producing A Nice Indian Boy as part of their 2013/2014 season. Opening night will be February 24, closely following the run of In Love and Warcraft at the Alliance. Two productions in two months of two different plays, my first year out of graduate school. All I can hope for is that this doesn’t mean I’ve peaked. (Hey, Universe? Yeah. This too.)

    Made it to the finals of the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center and spent about seven nerve wracking weeks pondering the possibility that I may have to move to Minneapolis after graduation. Luckily, the fellowship was awarded to someone much more deserving, and most likely far less of a wimp about temperatures below 15 degrees celsius.

    Finished an extensive rewrite of A Nice Indian Boy this semester,culminating with an amazing two-week experience of rehearsing and presenting it as a staged reading for the USC New Works III Festival. Directed by the brilliant Robert Egan and featuring a wonderful cast- Sunil Malhotra, Michael Weston, Pia Shah, Ravi Kapoor and Meera Simhan. My family came to see it on June 1, which also happened to be my parents’ wedding anniversary. My mother cried. My father cried. My brother laughed at all the right places. That’s all I cared about.

    The cast in rehearsal. The cast in rehearsal.

    Got to fly out to Atlanta to take part in the Alliance Theater’s Taste of the Season event, where I hung out with the beautiful Celise Kalke and got to meet Susan Booth and Pearl Cleage and many of the other truly lovely people who work at the Alliance. I think maybe the most wonderful thing about this experience is that they have set such a high standard for me to expect from my collaborators. The Alliance artists and staff treated me with such respect and kindness that I immediately felt comfortable, and understood that this shouldn’t be an exception just because they happen to be nice people. It’s what I should expect as a playwright, and a person. As someone just starting out, this means a lot.

    20130613-183915.jpg And there was so much free food. So much free food!

    I have an agent! I’m signing with lovely Beth Blickers from Abrams. Yay!

    And… I graduated from USC with two of my best friends in the world.

    20130613-183853.jpg

    And I’m unemployed right now, but that’s fine, because 2013 has just been crazy ass awesome so far, and I can handle a little downtime.

    (Hey, Universe. Thank you.)

  • Sunday, June 2, 2013
  • Just back from my daughter’s reading of the play “A Nice Indian Boy” This is the first time ever my husband and myself are seeing her play. The subject is about an Indian American family living in the Bay Area. The son is gay and he wants to marry a nice Indian boy but falls in love with a white American boy who was adopted by Indian parents and though he is Caucasian, is more Indian than himself. He takes him home to meet his parents and a turmoil follows when the parents try to come to terms with what their son wants. In the mean time their brilliant daughter who goes through an arranged marriage comes back home wanting to leave her husband because she thinks there is no love in her marriage. How things resolve in the emotional upheaval which that family faces is what the whole drama is about. The crux of the story is about how though the parents love their children very much it
    many times needs interpretation.

    There are only five characters. Father, mother, daughter, son and his gay boyfriend. I cannot believe the depth in which my daughter has handled each character. The theater was erupting in laughter with her witty dialogues, at the same time enraptured for one hour and forty minutes without any intermission with the emotional content of the drama.

    The actors were all professional actors and did an excellent job. The director of the play was Robert Egan and he was fantastic.

    I am in awe of how my daughter @madplays Madhuri has written with such deep understanding of human nature. Kudos to her and wishing her great successes in future.

    My mom’s review of ‘A Nice Indian Boy’. http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rkk42f