As you walk into the space you are greeted like a guest in an old Asian aunties house; she jokes about not having bhaji’s to pass around and makes you feel comfortable about where to sit. By breaking the fourth wall immediately the audience is at ease with each other and the space feels safe for the incredible journey we are all about to embark on.
The play begins with a soothing song and asks the audience Whose Sari Now? Rani Moorthy strolls on stage ecstatic after just buying some new fabric. Out pops these vibrant colours and silks which she brings close to each audience member. She explains there is a sari for every occasion: one for shopping, one for house work, one for celebration and one for mourning. As she begins to open up to us about intimate occasions and life events, we see that these saris also represent her layers of skin, and battles through life. We see how close she feels about her Sari and Indian culture and feels proud about her heritage but acknowledges that they are seen to be outdated.
By comparing these strong Indian fabrics to her identity, she expresses the new generation are embarrassed and are almost abandoning their culture and traditions, consequentially which are being lost. Whose Sari Now is an empowering piece especially for the Asian community; a one woman solo show frankly talking about the female cultural struggles and the rejection of being a transgendered man. She shocks us with a monologue of the troubles and disapproval of an Asian Trans man and the reactions of being loud and proud about who you really are, with a hard hitting spoken word piece.
Moorthy is an endearing and captivating performer that brings to life exciting characters. Her performance captures the audience speaking directly to each of them in the intimate studio space. Her light hearted nature and direct approach makes you feel close to her and by the end of the performance you are left feeling like a friend. This contemporary piece is very relevant to the times we are living in; exposing truths on identity and sexuality which are often hidden away in the Asian community. Whose Sari Now is recommended for adults seeking further understanding in cultural identity from a different perspective. 3/5
Review written by Jessica Andrade.
Whose Sari Now was shown at Stratford East Theatre Royal from Thursday 24th November until Saturday 17th December. To find out more about Rasa Theatre, visit here…
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