Red Mane Productions Present
by Ayndrilla Singharay Directed by: Lucy Allan
based on Punishment by Rabindranath Tagore
At Rosemary Branch Theatre
30 August – 8 September
Evenings: Tues – Sat 19.30
Prices: £12.00 Concessions: £10.00
Press Night: 30 September 19.30
Following its premiere at Dartington Tagore Festival, Red Mane Productions bring Ayndrilla Singharay’s new play Unsung to the Rosemary Branch Theatre for a limited nine performances only. Unsung marks the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore’s receipt of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Lucy Allan directs Ayndrilla Singharay’s adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s short story Punishment relocated to modern day London. The cast includes: Avita Jay (Joy),
Rez Kabir (Rana), Nadia Nadif (Megh,) Niall Ray (Ash). Set and costume design by Emma Jesse.
Brothers, Ash and Rana share a joint household with their wives Joy and Megh. Unlike the happy newlyweds, Rana and Megh are struggling to tolerate each others’ company. When a seemingly innocent meeting leads to devastating consequences, allegiances are challenged and a terrible sacrifice demanded…
“Unsung’ is a unique and exciting re-interpretation of Tagore’s original story for modern times. It tells an important story, and its portrayal of gender violence is as relevant today as it was in Tagore’s time. “
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti Playwright – Behzti (Dishonour) and Bensharam (Shameless)
Rabindranath Tagore and gender equality
Set in modern day London, Unsung is a re-imagining of Punishment, one of Rabindranath Tagore’s most haunting short stories. Tagore: adored Indian Nobel Laureate writer, philosopher and humanist was a pioneer of his day. This year marks the centenary of his receipt of the Nobel Prize. By re-interpreting Tagore’s profound observations about the fragility of relationships, Unsung shows how his message is relevant, modern and above all, rooted in the universally shared human experience.
Tagore is well known for his empathy towards women and the suffering experienced through gender discrimination and violence. The rigid codes of Bengali village life and the expectations of women are questioned repeatedly throughout his work. But his voice also rings true today in the UK. Gender-based violence must not be swept under the carpet of history, for it is weaved into the fabric of modern times. Once we identify and acknowledge this, we can begin to unravel it.
Ayndrilla Singharay is a British-Bengali writer. She completed her MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway University London in 2009. During her MA she was tutored by former Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion and her work was published in an anthology of new writing, Bedford Square 4 (pub. John Murray 2010). Unsung is her first play. She also works as a training and development co-ordinator for ASHA, a South Asian charity that provides refuge accommodation for women and children escaping violence. She delivers training on gender awareness, domestic violence and forced marriage and has carried out research for the Home Office on forced marriage in the UK. Ayndrilla has grown up in a household surrounded by Tagore’s books, songs and artwork. Like Tagore she believes strongly that art must influence social reform. Ayndrilla is currently working on her first novel.
“I am thrilled about the London premiere of Unsung at the Rosemary Branch Theatre. Tagore’s art has always been part of my life and I feel privileged to be able to share my modern re-invention of his short story, Punishment, on the London stage. I hope that the play will demonstrate just how damaging our expectations of one another can be and explore a universal question – how much should you sacrifice for your family?”
Director, Lucy Allan graduated with a degree in English Literature from Manchester University in 2011. Directing credits include: Endgame (Joshua Brooks), The Retreat (Studio Salford), The Interpreter (24:7 Theatre Festival), Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (Studio Salford 2012, The Lowry Studio 2013), Recycling (Script Sessions: The Courtyard Theatre), Rootbound (The Miniaturists at The Arcola).
Niall Ray plays Ash. Credits include The Trouble with Asian Men, Tamasha – Sydney, Rez in Londonee (Rich Mix), Fariad in Freedom (Arcola) and Salim in My Beautiful Laundrette (ATS Theatre). Niall is also co-founder of Red Mane Productions
Avita Jay plays Joy. Credits include: L8R (BBC2), Spare (New Diorama
Theatre), Toad (Southwark Playhouse), Sunday Morning at the Centre of the
World (Southwark Playhouse), The Merry Wives of Windsor (National Tour), Londonee (Rich Mix), Fulfil Me Fully, Phil (The Space), Trojan Women (Brockley Jack Theatre), Secret Cinema’s Brazil and the feature films London, Paris, New York and Twenty8K.
Rez Kabir plays Rana. Credits include: The Little Clay Cart, Hayavadana and The Government Inspector.Medea (Soulfire Theatre). Purnima & The Enchanted Necklace, Homelands, The Legend of Black Lotus (Tamarind Theatre Co). Whitechapel Dreams (BBC). Londonee (MGT). Film appearances in Zohra, (winner Race & Media awards, 1st Tongues on Fire -best short 2006). Give to Me The Life I Love (Matt Stokes).This year he played Chuni in Farrukh Dhondy’s adaptation of Debdas.
Nadia Nadif plays Megh. Theatre includes: Carnival Collectors (Art Deco Theatre), Londonee (Rich Mix), The House of Bernarda Alba (Almeida), New Anatomies (BAC), Mahatma (Tristan Bates), Sweeney Todd (Shunt Vaults), Much Ado about Nothing (Baron’s Court) and Dona Rosita the Spinster (Theatre Royal Haymarket).
ASHA – Working to end violence against women and girls
Ayndrilla’s work with the women in refuge accommodation at ASHA has deeply informed the evolution of this play. These women experience many of the behaviours that we see in Unsung – control , psychological torture , forced marriage, verbal and physical abuse. They experience these types of abuse because they are female and are expected to conform to gender-specific roles even against their will. Unsung explores the family codes and expectations that many people still live by today and questions how appropriate these traditional gender roles are in modern times. This play portrays a family unit in crisis due to conflicting perceptions of gender roles – something that is routinely happening within our own society, amongst all cultures. In 2013, 1 in 4 women around the world will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime.
The intimate portrayal of the family in both Punishment and Unsung is specific and yet the underlying human issues resonate across cultures and borders. Expectations of men and women pertaining to their specific gender roles is something we all encounter in some area of our lives, whether it is in our family, work or relationships. This play challenges the expectation that women should continually sacrifice their own needs and desires on a daily basis for the good of the family. It explores what they want for themselves, and how this can be achieved.
By phone: 020 7704 6665
Rosemary Branch Theatre
2 Shepperton Road
Nearest Tube: Old Street or Highbury & Islington