WhyNot Theatre continues making life better through art by premiering A Brimful of Asha online Jan. 15–31. Keeping this experience COVID-friendly, the show is a recording of a 2014 performance; and further making this a more interactive streamed session, the Surrey Arts Center has organized a chat after the Jan. 15 show with
Toronto-based actor and director Jain, who has been acting for 15 years, is a multi-award winning writer, actor and founder of the WhyNot Theatre company. After graduating high school, travelling the world and working abroad, Jain went on to graduate from France’s prestigious L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, a Paris school of physical theatre.
A Brimful of Asha
The show’s title is borrowed from the title of a song written by British alternative rock band, with the same name, Cornershop.
Asha, the Hindi word for hope, is also Jain’s mother and co-actor’s name. Fittingly, at the core of it, this play is about the challenges that arise out of the hope for happiness a parent wants for their child, or a child has for their parents.
“We tell the true story of how my parents tried to arrange my marriage in 2007,” summarizes Jain.
A Brimful of Asha has now been performed for over nine years and has trotted the globe. Ravi and Asha Jain, who is not an actor by profession, have performed this play in countries like Australia, England, Germany, the United States and Canada.
Of note, there have also been performances of this show without the Jains and with other actors instead – such as, in the recent past, the shows which premiered in Edmonton and Nova Scotia.
After setting up a name for himself in the theatres of New York and London and upon his return to Canada in 2007, he started his own theatre company in hopes of finding a stage for his work and voice to reach the world.
“[The theatre company was started] as a way of making work, and sharing the work I make with the rest of the world,” says Jain.
One of their production’s works coming to the audience in 2022 is an adaptation of the Mahabharata – the great Sansksrit mythological story, an epic battle between families – as a Sanskrit opera.
Last December, Jain and Miriam Fernandes, who is co-artistic director of WhyNot Theatre, had a live Zoom chat with Devdutt Pattanaik, who is a mythologist, speaker and author of several books exploring various characters of the Mahabharata and the epic itself.
This adaptation is written by Jain and Fernandes, and it uses poetry by Carole Satyamurti. WhyNot’s attempt is to reinvent this production.
“A contemporary adaptation of the story and tell it for today,” says Jain.
WhyNot Theatre has had over 55 shows, for which they have earned 44 nominations and awards. They have also toured over 80 tour stops in 40 cities over the globe.
More information about the show can be found on the WhyNot Theatre website, www.whynot.theatre.
Register for the performance on January 15 via the City of Surrey’s website, www.surrey.ca/news-events/events/brimful-of-asha.