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April 24, 2007 > Seeds and Flowers: An English play with an Indian twist

Seeds and Flowers: An English play with an Indian twist

By Praveena Raman

Seeds and Flowers, Krea's (a group dedicated to Tamil theatrical arts) first play in English, will be presented at Ohlone College on Saturday April 28 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. This play is being produced in conjunction with Cancer Institute Foundation, Inc. as a fundraiser for this non-profit institution.

Written by Fremont resident Ramanujam (TAR) and directed by his wife Dheepa, the play explores the trials and tribulations faced by two immigrant families from India during the recent recession in the Bay Area. The story revolves around struggling new immigrants Raj and Priya (Karthik Ramachandran and Dheepa Ramanujam) and successful Jay and Charu (Ropesh Warrier and Vidhya Subramaniam) who have come to the United States to find their dream. Raj, disillusioned after three layoffs, vacillates between going back to India and staying on in this country.

Priya fully supports going back to India, but seeing that Raj would prefer to stay, offers to find work as an artist. However, she is faced with Raj's old-fashion view of a wife having to be a homemaker. On the other hand, Jay, with all his success, is not able to give Charu the one thing she craves - his time. Then, tragedy strikes shattering Jay and Charu's world. Will Raj and Priya go back to India or make it in this country? Will Jay and Charu be able to overcome adversity and be true to their cultural values?

TAR has skillfully woven a plot that can resonate with any family even though some issues presented are typical to Indian culture. The play, while serious, is peppered with lighter moments. One of these "lighter" roles is played by Mission San Jose High School (MSJHS) senior Tara Shankar playing Anna, the office gossip, who is of mixed heritage. The voice for Tara's father is provided by TCV reporter Venkat Raman.

Even though this is Tara's first play with Krea she is no stranger to the stage. In the last few years she has been seen in different productions at MSJHS and Star Struck Theatre. According to Tara, a significant difference between acting at Mission, Star Struck and this production is that as the writer of the original script is part of Krea "actors have input into their dialogues and don't have to stick to the script as it is written." This makes it easier for the actors to own and immerse themselves in their roles so much that after a scene is done it takes them some time to come out of character.

Even during rehearsals, this attribute was seen particularly as Vidhya Subramaniam played the role of Charu. Vidhya is a well known Bay Area Bharatanaytam dancer and is the artistic director of Lasya Dance Company. She has produced many full length dance-dramas with her students. As a dancer, Vidhya is used to having stage presence, using space to the maximum advantage and expressing emotions. The difference she finds between dancing and acting, which is at once challenging and enjoyable for her as an artist, is that while in dance, she portrays emotions and tells a story using just her hands and face, in a play, she has to couple it with dialogue. Vidhya has also acted in Krea's Tamil productions and she is very comfortable delivering dialogue in both languages. All Krea production members are volunteers, many with a day job. For Vidhya, her job as dance teacher takes up her evenings and most weekends; yet she has made time for this production. Such is her devotion to art.

Cancer Institute Foundation is a U.S. based organization dedicated to raise funds and support the Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, India, in all aspects of Cancer Treatment and Research. By joining together in Seeds and Flowers, Krea and Cancer Institute Foundation are both giving back to the community. More information about both these organizations can be found at http://www.kreacreations.com and http://cifwia.org/index.php.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at http://www.sulekha.com/bayarea or by contacting Ponny Saravanam at (408) 629-0554 or Naveen Nathan at (510) 435-5034.

Seeds and Flowers
Saturday April 28
3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Jackson Theatre, Smith Center
Ohlone College
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont

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