Dipika Guha – Plays

Dipika Guha



Plays


My plays are worlds of dissolving oppositions. Characters are at once old and young, male and female, alive and dead. Dichotomies collapse in favour of a world rife with the possibility of multiple truths where lives turn suddenly and are inexplicably transformed.

I love mixing genres and am most drawn to tragi-comedies. The existence of pathos in the midst of hilarity, surprise and horror amidst what is most brutal and brilliant in the world appeals to me. My playworlds are sustained by paradox and passion so immense that it dissolves boundaries.


Full-Length Plays

Click titles for play excerpts.

The Art of Gaman

(3W, 2M)

It is the early 1940’s when Tomomi’s steamer pulls into San Francisco, her arrival coinciding with the first wave of west coast Japanese internment. So when an old man on board offers to arrange her marriage to his son who lives in New York, Tomomi knows she must accept. At once funny, intimate and deeply theatrical, The Art of Gaman is an account of one woman’s struggle for independence and self-expression through her life and American history. Click here for Dipika’s interview with Theatre in the Row about The Art of Gaman.

Mechanics of Love

(2W, 2M)

In a mythical European city pressed up against a communist state, it is natural that the business of beginning a new world involves forgetting the old one. But when you forget your wife to marry a ballerina with an artificial spine…and the ballerina forgets you to marry your fashionable wife…and then they both fall in love with the mechanic…suddenly, the ordinary rules of love are impossible to follow. This heightened and heartbreaking new comedy questions the laws that govern love, the physics of choosing a spouse, and the miracle of what endures.

Lifted

(2W, 2M, Finalist Bay Area Playwrights Festival ’15)

An Indian celebrity professor and esteemed poet has a double life. And now so does his wife. And her lover. And his girlfriend. LIFTED is a funny and wry investigation of love, authenticity, authorship and what happens when you finally find your voice.

The Rules

(3W, 1M)

Ana has a loving relationship with her childhood friends Julia and Mehr. That is, until a brooding stranger named Valmont with a mysterious resemblance to Colin Firth and a strange addiction problem comes to town. Now Ana must examine the unwritten rules of their friendship and the near invisible laws that govern how the women see themselves. THE RULES is a late coming of age story.

I Enter the Valley

(4W, 2M)

Beloved national poet Augusto Reál has not written a scrap for seven years. What’s more, he’s been incredibly happy. Or has he? In the twilight of his life, his once quiet house is flooded with the voices of women who descend upon the valley. They upset him, shatter his peace and in the noise something unspoken begins to stir in them all….I ENTER the VALLEY is a play about the nature of power, creativity and female friendship inspired by the life of Pablo Neruda.

The Betrothed 

(3M, 1W)

Simon leaves America for the first time to fly to the Old Country to marry the woman he’s been betrothed to from birth. On arrival he finds that she is ancient. She insists that she IS his betrothed, his only love and that she aged overnight due to the stress of his anticipated arrival. Horrified by her age and her abundant sexual interest in him, he kills her. THE BETROTHED is a comic exploration of gender, sexuality and national identity.

Passing

(2M, 3W)

On an imagined island, ill-matched, British expats Clara and Sidney live isolated from the indiginous population. That is, until a young girl, bloody and brutalised appears on their property. PASSING is a poetic and impressionistic confrontation with the history of colonialism, chronicling a history that resists erasure.

** Herculine and Lola 

(5W, 2M)

While vacationing in Amsterdam, American teenager Lola begins to hallucinate. A century earlier, frustrated and misunderstood, schoolteacher Herculine Barbin retreats into a solitary white room. HERCULINE and LOLA is a story about two people united by the power of their imagination and by love. It is inspired by the Diary of the first ‘true hermaphrodite’ Herculine Barbin.

** In development

Blown Youth

(7W)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Blown Youth asks what happens to the universe if a woman is at its center. All Celia wants is to play a great role. But unlike Hamlet, there isn’t one for her to inherit. Despite her sophisticated education and a profound intellectual commitment to helping other women somehow Celia, like her counterpart, cannot act. Still, it seems that her consciousness doesn’t only lie inside her. It seeds and sprouts amidst her twenty first century kinships: her friends.

Click here for Dipika’s interview with Adam Szymkowicz about Blown Youth.

Unreliable

(1M, 2W)

Gretchen is a lawyer. Yusuf is her client. Yusuf is being held indefinitely without trial for terrorism. Hattie is Gretchen’s mother. Only…Hattie thinks Gretchen is a secretary….and Gretchen thinks Hattie is sick….and Yusuf believes he’s been framed. In a world rife with media bias and indefinite access to information, Unreliable investigates the consequences of living only in a story of your choosing.


Short Plays

A Brief History of America

(2W, 1M, one act, Tobacco Factory Scriptspace Winner, UK, Samuel French Off-Broadway Festival)

Spanning over fifty years, A BRIEF HISTORY follows Sarah from childhood, through the care of an ailing step parent to where she must confront her love for her childhood sweetheart, Roberto. A BRIEF HISTORY of AMERICA is a play about immigration, love, loss and the true meaning of home.

An American Dream

(1W, 2M, ten minute play, Old Vic New Voices, T.S Eliot Award, Red Bull Theatre Short Play Anthology)

Seb meets the ‘hyacinth girl’, a young mysterious woman in Venice Beach and unbeknownst to her, follows her to London. In London he is persuaded by landlord Fes to do a Dustin Hoffman and dress up like a woman to win her love. AN AMERICAN DREAM is a verse comedy inspired by T.S Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland’.

In the Red, White and Blue

(2W, ten minute play, Heideman Award Finalist, Boston Theatre Marathon)

Charlotte and Sophie Trowbridge have not seen each other in two years. Mother and daughter meet on a cold winter’s night in a glass enclosed restaurant where they fight for the survival for their relationship. IN THE RED, WHITE and BLUE is a ten minute tragi-comedy.