Pam MacKinnon, whom the LA Times called a “hot commodity on Broadway”, has come to San Francisco as American Conservatory Theater’s (A.C.T.’s) Artistic Director. In her first order of business, Pam has honored the Bay Area by picking as her debut production a play set in the locker rooms of the cricket teams of India and England. The rival women cricket players are playing a world-class match when rain interrupts the play, and slowly secrets spill out.
A contrast of two time-traveling stories, Testmatch moves from the above scene in 2019 to the 1800s when the players discuss the rules by which to play the game. The director makes the two periods of history come alive. Her skill is seen in the exemplary performance of the actors and the fine nuances that distinguish the two periods of history.
During the panel discussion Chai, Gupshup and Stories with Ritu Marwahat the recent South Asian Literature and Art (SALA) festival at Montalvo Arts Center, Pam MacKinnon shared some of the fine elements that distinguish her as a storyteller. The panel discussed how stories belong to everyone but it is in the telling of the story that the skill of the storyteller can enthrall and captivate the audience.
Pam MacKinnon won the Tony and Drama Desk awards and received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Revival of a Play for her production of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She won an Obie Award for Excellence in Directing as well as Tony and Lucille Lortel award nominations for Bruce Norris’s Clybourne Park. Her production of Beau Willimon’s The Parisian Woman, starring Uma Thurman, is currently running on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include Amélie, A New Musical; the world premiere of David Mamet’s China Doll with Al Pacino; Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles with Elisabeth Moss; and Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance with Glenn Close and John Lithgow.
In Testmatchwe expect nothing less from the lady who rocked Broadway. The world premiere of Testmatch runs from October 24th through December 8th at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater in San Francisco.
Patrons of art play an important role in what is made available and offered to them. The response of the Bay Area theatergoers will determine the future choice of plays by the artistic directors of the area.
Ritu Marwah is an actor turned writer who enjoys gupshup, chai and stories.
Cover photo credit: Hetal Soni. Pam MacKinnon, Tony Award-winning director of Testmatch on the panel “Gupshup, Chai and Stories with Ritu Marwah” at SALA 2019.
This article was edited by Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain.
Lucky S.F. Bay area denizens of the high-brow variety, you have yet another event to look forward to that is sure to amplify your festive Dussera season this year. If you are scurrying off to the many poojas, family gatherings and Golus (display of dolls), be sure to add this event to your calendar!
Starting Sunday, October 6th from 12pm – 5pm, the beautiful environs of Villa Montalvo is home to the South Asian Literature & Arts Festival – SALA 2019. This event, the first of its kind in the US, runs from October 6th – 13th, showcasing a grand variety of visual arts, performing arts, poetry, book readings and panel discussions.
Visual Arts @ SALA 2019:
Visual arts enthusiasts have special treats that thrill and educate. This event presents a great opportunity to meet with award-winning luminaries like India’s leading contemporary artist Rekha Rodwittiya whose work with distinctly feminist narratives has received critical acclaim. In a discussion titled Rekha @ 60: Transient Worlds of Belonging, Dr. Prajit Dutta of Aicon Gallery, NY will be speaking with Ms. Rodwittiya.
Priyanka Mathew, Principal Partner of Sunderlande New York – an art advisory with a focus on South Asian art, presents an exemplary exhibition titled ‘Revelations: The Evolution of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’. The show highlights works by Jamini Roy, Sanjay Bhattacharya, Krishen Khanna, Anjolie Ela Menon, Shobha Broota and G.R Iranna to name a few.
Also featured is a conversation with Dipti Mathur, a local bay area philanthropist and well known collector of modern and contemporary South Asian art. She has served on the board of trustees of several museums and is a founding member of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium, SF.
One of the highlights of the program is well known actor, painter and poet, Deepti Naval. U.C Berkeley professor Harsha Ram, will moderate a program titled “An Elaborate Encounter with Deepti Naval”, as part of the Confluences – Cinema, Poetry and Art segment.
Cinema @ SALA 2019:
Indian cinema has a great representation at SALA 2019! The festival offers up a chance to interact with the men behind the popular Netflix original series ‘Sacred Games’, in two separate programs.
The trio of Varun Grover, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikram Chandra will be interviewed by Tipu Purkayastha on Oct 6th as part of the opening day of the festival in a program titled ‘From the Sacred to the Profane’.
A special event on Friday, Oct 18th tilted ‘From Text to Screen’ will feature Tipu Purkayastha. In conversation with him is noted director, writer, and producer, Anurag Kashyap. This program offers us an interesting perspective into their creative minds!
Literature @ SALA 2019:
The literary world boasts of several names from the South Asian diaspora who decorate the local, national and international stage. SALA 2019 proudly presents writers and poets like Vikram Chandra, Minal Hajratwala, ShanthiSekaran, NayomiMunaweera, RaghuKarnad, AthenaKashya and TanujaWakefield to name a few, who will share their work in readings and discussions.
Also being represented at the festival is the emerging Children and Young Adult genre of writers. Curated by Kitaab World, Mitali Perkins and Naheed Senzai in a program titledThe Subcontinent’s Children.
Montalvo Arts Centerand Art Forum SF, in collaboration with UC Berkeley Institute of South Asian Studies are jointly bringing to us one of the largest collections of contemporary South Asian writers, artists, poets, and personalities from theater and cinema.
The opening day features various programs like art exhibits, panel discussions with internationally renowned writers and filmmakers, hands-on art activities, henna artists and dance performances. There are food stations offering up the many flavors of South Asia. This family-friendly event includes book readings, storytelling and hands on crafts for children. Visitors can also avail themselves of an art and literature marketplace displaying Bay Area artists and Books Inc. book sellers.
The festival, the largest of its kind in the US is brought to us by Art Forum SF, a non profit that strives to promote emerging visual, literary and performing art forms from South Asia.
Montalvo Art Center is well known for its mission in advancing cultural and cross-cultural perspectives, nurturing artists by helping them explore their artistic pursuits on their historic premises.
Pavani Kaushik is a visual artist who loves a great book almost as much as planning her next painting. She received a BFA from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Her new avatar requires creative juggling with the pen and the brush.
This article was edited by Culture and Media Editor Geetika Pathania Jain, Ph.D.