New York City, October 15, 2002 -The indian Diaspora Playwrights Festival, now in its second year, will be held at the Lark Studio, 939 Eighth Avenue in New York City. Four playwrights will be in residence at The Lark Theatre Company for a week of rehearsals culminating in staged readings November 13-16. Presented by The Lark's International Program, the festival is a special project of the Indo American Arts Council, produced this season by Rasa Theatre Inc. in association with Rising Circle and Salaam Theatre. Ticket and schedule inform.ation may be obtained by calling (212) 246-2676.

This year's plays, selected by a diverse panel of theatre artists, represent a combination of local and international playwrights. Dolly Dbingra's UNSUITABLE GIRLS, set in East London, follows a secretary's comical search for a better man in a world of not-so-arranged marriages (Wed., Nov. 13 at 6 pm; Fri., Nov.15 at 8:30 pm). THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF TIME TRAVEL, by Sarovar Banka, features an immigrant father and his son haunted by their past and their neighbors in suburban Detroit (Wed. Nov. 13 at 8:30 pm; Fri. Nov. 15 at 6pm). AlladinUllah's THE HALLAI BROTHERS explores the American experience of two Bangiadeshi owners of a Harlem hallal shop on the eve of Malcolm X's assasination (Thurs. Nov. 14 at 8:30 pm; Sat. Nov. 16 at 6pm).

The festival is the brainchild of Aroon Shivdasani, Executive Director of the Indo American Arts Council, who also produces an annual festival celebrating Indian filmmakers. Two years ago, Shivdasani appro~tched Lark International Program Director Michael Johnson-Chase and Lark Producing Director John Eisner with her idea of promoting stories from the Indian Diaspora by supporting new playwrights through The Larlds play development process. The Lark applied for and received special project ftmding from the New York State Council for The Arts and produced the first Indian Diaspora Playwrights Festival in November 2001. Last season's selections included QUEEN OF THE REMOTE CONTROL by Sujata Bhatt, MERCHANT ON VENICE by Shishir Kurup and A FIRST CLASS MAN by David Freeman, and were presented to packed houses. QUEEN OF THE REMOTE CONTROL was subsequently produced by East-West Players in Los Angeles and all three plays have attracted the attention of interested producers.

The festival has grown this year to include more theatre organizations and artists. Rasa Theater, Inc. has joined The Lark and the Indo American Arts Council and has agreed to produce the November 2002 event in association with Rising Circle and Salaam Theatre. Shivdasani, whose aim was always to strengthen the South Asian arts community in New York City, is pleased: "I am delighted that the festival begun last year by The Lark and IAAC is creating bridges among various emerging theatre organizations and establishing a venue for Indian and South Asian voices in New York City."


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