Join me on June 22nd at 7:30 pm on YouTube Live to listen in on my work-in-process, Public Obscenities, which I’ve been writing as a Project Number One Artist. It’s a bilingual play, in Bengali and English, and I’ve been working with an exquisite cast and creative team to bring a few scenes to life in audio form. I’m so excited to share this moment in the story’s development with you. RSVP HERE
As a queer transplanted Bangali coming of age in America, I was obsessed with language. Language was currency. I hoarded it. I was obsessed with pronouncing things perfectly. Authentically. When we came to the States, I mastered American English quickly, but I maintained fluency in my mother tongue, meaning I could mingle precociously with my parents’ generation at parties. Back in Kolkata, I was thrilled whenever someone mistook me for a local. It gave me an adrenaline rush. I took pleasure in the look on my American friends’ faces when I spoke to my parents in Bangla—the quick code-switch rendering them suddenly foreign. I relished being the translator, the bridge between, the one who nimbly straddled worlds.
But it was work. And if I am always working to prove I am native to a place, then doesn’t that itself prove I am a kind of alien everywhere?
On Tuesday, June 22nd, I’ll be joining you live from Soho Rep’s theater at 46 Walker Street. Following the stream of the audio recording, I’ll be in conversation with historian of sexuality, Durba Mitra, about the piece and the questions at its heart. Join us.
Hope to see you there!
Writer and Director: Shayok Misha Chowdhury
Associate Direction and Dramaturgy: Lindsay Tanner and Sukanya Chakrabarti
Sound Design: Chelsea Daniel
Production Coordinator: Elizagrace Madrone
Cultural Factotum: Partha Chowdhury
Samrat Chakrabarti, Koushik Chattopadhyay, Golam Sarwar Harun, Gargi Mukherjee, Sunanda Sanyal, and Namir Smallwood.