Agam Darshi plays the exotic dancer Apsara and Munish Sharma is her blind patron Kamal in the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival production of Bombay Black. (Photo courtesy Zahida Rahemtulla)Na

Nanaimo’s TheatreOne opens season with Vancouver Fringe hit ‘Bombay Black’

Vancouver playwright Anosh Irani’s play told from perspective of blind character

Last year Vancouver playwright Anosh Irani and theatre director and producer Rohit Chokhani were walking through the streets of Mumbai, with Irani pointing out the sites that inspired and are depicted in his 2006 Governor General’s Literary Award-nominated play Bombay Black.

Then he asked Chokhani to close his eyes.

Bombay Black tells the story of a blind man who visits an exotic dancer who is managed by her mother. Chokhani describes it as both a romantic love story and a mysterious thriller.

“For me, what’s interesting about the show is, first of all, why does a blind man want to go and see an exotic dancer?” he said, later adding, “That’s interesting that a playwright who wants to take on, in a way, the topic of male gazing, but then not let the guy who is male in the play gaze because he’s blind.”

When the two met in Mumbai, their shared hometown, Chokhani said to Irani, “So you took that eyesight away from the lead guy, but why did you not take that eyesight away from the audience members?” Irani was intrigued and from there Chokhani began working on an interpretation of Bombay Black told from the blind man’s perspective.

Last year that production debuted at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and went on to earn the Pick of the Fringe Award. From Nov. 15 to 17 the play makes its Vancouver Island debut at Malaspina Theatre as it opens TheatreOne’s 2018-19 mainstage season. The play is also part of Diwali in B.C. celebrations in Nanaimo.

Chokhani attributes the production’s success to its approach to illustrating how the world can be perceived without sight. He said audience members have the option of wearing blindfolds, some scenes are performed in the dark and others make use of exaggerated lighting and sound effects.

“We want to say, like, the blind are not really blind. They have a very different ability of seeing the world through their other parts of their senses and we explore that quite a bit,” Chokhani said.

He said Irani has been supportive of his take on the play.

“He’s the kind of playwright who comes in whenever we need him…” Chokhani said. “He’s very much on board with the idea and he loves where we’re taking it.”

WHAT’S ON … TheatreOne presents Bombay Black at Malaspina Theatre from Nov. 15 to 17 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for students. Available online or at 250-754-7587.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Indian Day School students eligible for $10K apiece

Islanders included in settlement package reached with Canada’s federal government

Discovery Island wolf continues to thrive

The wolf, known as ‘Takaya’, has lived on the island for seven years

Early indications say allergy season could be milder this spring

The Aerobiology Lab collects pollen samples from across Canada to help make predictions

EDITORIAL: Housing is one of our basic needs

We all need food, clothing and shelter first

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Free blood type tattoo with donation draws crowdsin Finland, interest in Canada

One in two people is eligible and able to donate blood, but only one in 60 people actually do

Timelapse shows Blue Morpho chrysalis morphing in Victoria

One of many species of butterflies at the Butterfly Gardens

Tagalog, Arabic and Urdu among fastest growing languages in Canada

Italian and German have seen double-digit drops, while French and English are growing, but slowly

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Most Read