Our guest blogger Lauren Parker reviews Siddhartha Bose’s play No Dogs, No Indians presented as part of GemArts Masala Festival:
I was particularly excited about seeing this play. When I was sixteen I spent 4 weeks travelling around Northern India. So whenever I get the change to reminisce or boast about my exotic adventures, I am there. Honestly someone only has to mention the Taj Mahal and I am all, yep been there and got the t-shirt. Literally I have a t-shirt. I’m a souvenir hoarder. I will be keeping my ticket from this performance. Do I have a problem? *Gives head a shake* I have to be honest, one of my favourite things about the night was chatting to the lovely couple sat next to me. We reminisced about our travels to India and the places we had been. Anyway enough about me, back to the play. Did I mention I have been to India?
The plays writer Siddhartha Bose gave an insight on what he’s hoping to achieve with this play during an interview with the Brighton Festival earlier this year. Siddharta highlighted that he is aiming “to help us remember, explore and engage”. In my opinion, that message is relevant to all pieces of theatre. Just by switching on the news, turning on the radio or picking up a magazine we are forced to either remember, explore or engage. Read the full interview with Siddharta Bose here.
The play started with a comedic feel with the underlying issues slowly surfacing and spiralling throughout act 1. There was a definite build-up of tension as the audience was transported back and forth through each time zone. Watch out jet lag. One of the lines that stuck with me the most was about seeing your life through an ‘alcoholic haze’ as said by Shyamal Chatterjee repeatedly in act one. I found this to be quite fitting as I sat sipping my sauvignon blanc. It wasn’t just me. There was an uproar of laughter from the audience at this moment, which was reassuring. Not sure if it was the comedy or the wine…
The most poignant message of the play that jumped out to me was that of women being inferior to men. However, interestingly it was a young woman, Pritilata Waddedar, that lead the attack on the club and made the ultimate sacrifice. SPOILER. Soz. It was also clever, and ironic, how the female narrator had the ability to direct the movement of the male characters with a single gesture. I feel as though this message is still very prevalent in today’s society. Preach it Sister.
I enjoyed the navigation of the interweaving stories. The cabaret setting of the theatre was immersive in drawing me in. Especially with the narrator personally inviting the audience to take the journey with them. It made the piece highly engaging. The transitioning of the story between each time zone was easily moved by the narration. I enjoyed this style of theatre. Yes I did.
All in all if you have the chance to catch this play, you should. Who knows where the journey will go next?