Notes on Chai

In May, Southall Black Sisters, invited Jyoti Dogra from India, to give us a very special, private performance of her brilliant one-woman show, Notes on Chai, which was part of the annual Alchemy festival at the South Bank in London. Chai is central to all South Asian social encounters; here it was the brew that linked all the disparate characters and stories that Jyoti brought to life – from the young, newly married woman who tried desperately to convince us that she was happy to the old woman whose personal power was a thing of the past.

She showed extraordinary physical and vocal dexterity: she shrank and grew before our very eyes; her voice was equally comfortable humming Tibetan chants as it was taking on the gruffness of old age. It made for a  breathtaking, touching and often very funny piece of pure theatre.

Here is a short extract:

Women were visibly moved by the show, it spoke to them with a lightness of touch and yet pierced them to their very core. In the post-show discussion, many women and not just Asian women spoke about how well it had captured the complexity of their lives.

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