South Asian Play, Family Duty Hosts Auditions
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 15:09
Family Duty is an original play based on the short story from the collection Ghalib At Dusk and Other Stories, written by South Asian writer Nighat M. Gandhi. Centered on a middle-class Muslim family in North India, the story revolves around the death of a family member and the complexity of caring for a mentally ill sibling.
Family Duty is about spending a day with the Ahmed family in Ahemadabad, Gujarat. A glimpse into their daily life reveals the layered complexity of dependence and ingrained sense of duties and obligations in the institution of the family common to South Asian cultures. Among the themes of Family Duty are making ends meet as a religious minority and caring for the ill and the elderly in a society with few support structures.
The play also addresses the lack of affordable and accessible mental health care and of adequate psychiatric care or counseling facilities in India. Family Duty sheds light on the implications of such a situation for a middle-class Muslim woman whose choices are limited due to her gender, religion and social class.
Ali, the eldest brother in the Ahmed family returns home from the U.S. to attend his mother’s last rites and finds that things have only worsened for the family financially while he has been gone. Ali relies on his younger brother Imran and Imran’s wife Reema to take care of their mentally ill sister Chandni, and has several difficult decisions to make before he departs again for the U.S. When Chandni hurls a rolling pin at her sister-in-law in one of her temper tantrums, Reema’s loyalties are tested. Despite Reema’s initial measures to remove Chandni from the family, economic constraints forced Reema to compromise and accept Chandni. Ali feels bound by the traditional sense of family duties to provide for his sister. He must agree to supporting his younger brother and Imran’s family, so that his mentally ill sister can receive the care she needs.
Family Duty is a short, half- hour play and will be performed in the second week of November. Auditions for the play will be held on Sept. 27 from 7 – 10 p.m. and on Sept. 30 from 2 – 5 p.m. at Unity House. Students need not be South Asians to audition. Gender does not affect selection.