In the lead up to the silly season, audiences will get the chance to become extras in a boisterous new play from visionary writer and director Ahi Karunaharan. Playing at Q Theatre from 21 November to 14 December, My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak channels the controlled chaos of the seventies film-making industry in India. Complete with fight sequences, live music, and a rambunctious dance number finale, this premiere season also champions the subversive political undertones of the time; the inclusion of which continue to position Silo Theatre as one of New Zealand’s leaders in thought-provoking contemporary theatre.
Welcome to the City of Dreams: Bombay, the height of the 1970s. Legendary Bollywood director Rakesh Ramsey has died in the middle of shooting the Dust of the Delhi Plains, an epic desi western with all the trappings: magnificent landscapes, bounty-hunters and gunfights on horseback. Ramsey’s two children, Roshan and Kamala, are forced into the director’s chair. But they’ve inherited a disaster: the crew’s unhappy, the money’s all gone and the big Bollywood star is holding the production hostage. Can they bring their father’s dying dream to the big screen, or is Dust of the Delhi Plains as cursed as everyone says?
My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak is Karunaharan’s love letter to the communal spirit and ritual of making art in India. It’s an homage to Indian Cinema and Spaghetti Westerns of the 70s. The entire show is set in the world of a film set; the audience are the extras who have gathered for the shoot and the actors are characters from the film. Each night a different community dance group will perform the grand finale, a programming decision which places local communities on the mainstage. It’s a wild ride for audiences who can gain insight to a time in film making history that was escapist, celebratory, and high octane.
Ahi Karunaharan has quickly become one of the most sought-after creatives in Aotearoa. In 2018 he was Winner of the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award, and wrote and directed the award-winning production of TEAat the 2018 Auckland Arts Festival, and directed the sell-out season of the Auckland Theatre Company and Prayas’ production of A Fine Balance.He has worked with internationally-acclaimed theatre companies Tara Arts and Belvoir St Theatre and has presented critically acclaimed works at the Sydney & Adelaide Arts Festivals and the NZ International Comedy Festival.
Ahi Karunaharan has been working on this script for the last two years and was thrilled when Silo programmed this as their major commission offering in 2019. Set in a time in history when the East and West collided in India, My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak uses the construct of the classic Western film as a metaphor to explore the idea of new beginnings and new frontiers. “The 1970s is when we had the most Western immigration to India. Sergeant Peppers and Ravishanka all happened in this era. It was a time that begged to be examined theatrically. Both for its imagery, celebration and the shifting sands of cultural and gender representation”, says Ahi.
Through the efforts of Ahi and local groups he has connected with, South Asian theatre is popular with Auckland audiences who have flocked to his last two sell-out productions to experience the stories and aesthetics of this rich culture. “My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak is my way of increasing the South Asian visibility on our mainstages. It is my way of re-imagining our past, rewriting it, and placing our experiences, presence and voices in times, places, and spaces we didn’t previously exist in.” says Ahi.
A cast of five talented South Asian actors take the reins for this production including Mustaq Missouri (TEA, Dara, The New Legends of Monkey), Rashmi Pilapitiya (A Fine Balance, TEA), Mayen Mehta (Shortland Street, Fresh Eggs, The Bad Seed), Shaan Kesha (Tea, Ideation) and newcomer Sanaya Doctor. Live musicians creating a score of tunes to best match the Spaghetti Western genre are local legends Finn Scholes (Carnivorous Plant Society) and Leon Radojkovic (Boys Will Be Boys, Live Live Cinema, Peter and the Wolf, Fortress Europe).
We’ve got a double pass to giveaway! Just let us know who you’d take with you to be in to win!
My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak plays:
Q Theatre – Rangatira
21 November to 14 December
Tues to Wed: 7pm, Thurs to Sat: 8pm, Sun: 5pm
Book at qtheatre.co.nz
Suitable for ages 10 and over.
Giveaway now closed. Congratulations to our winner Cara Paige Davis