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

Salvation Army in Nanaimo calling volunteers to Christmas Kettle Campaign

Organizers asking for volunteers to fill thousands of hours on donation kettle shifts

Moustaches in style as community making a strong effort for Movember

Events being held in Nanaimo to raise awareness about men’s health issues

B.C. Housing working to meet timelines on temporary supportive housing in Nanaimo

Construction, co-ordination of services and planning for public process all happening now

Former city councillor ordered by Supreme Court to delete leaked documents

Gord Fuller and two other individuals must remove documents from social media platforms

Chef claims $1-million with lottery ticket purchased in Ladysmith

A Vancouver woman is $1-million richer after purchasing a winning Lotto Max… Continue reading

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Great Nanaimo Toy Drive begins its campaign leading up to Christmas

The 36th Great Nanaimo Toy Drive will make sure children have presents on Christmas morning

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read