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Bucks County Playhouse announces finalists for first South Asian Artistic Initiative Playwrighting Festival

Free readings are taking place in May

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Bucks County Playhouse producers Alexander Fraser, Robyn Goodman and Josh Fiedler, in association with Kiran Merchant, released information on three original plays that will be featured in the inaugural South Asian Artistic Initiative Playwrighting Festival. The three works have been chosen for public readings on May 10 and 11 at Bucks County Playhouse’s Lambertville Hall, in Lambertville, New Jersey. The three plays are “Muslim in the Midst” by Anand Rao (May 10, 7 p.m.), “American Hunger” by Nikhil Mahapatra (May 11, 2 p.m.) and “Tea for Toofi” by Ravi Kapoor (May 11, 7 p.m.). 

First announced in 2022, the South Asian Artistic Initiative is a multi-disciplinary artistic program dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building awareness of the impact of arts and artists of South Asian heritage.

“As we grow in our understanding of how different cultures are underrepresented in the American theater, we developed this program to reach out to South Asian theater artists and audiences. We’ve had a terrific response and have been delighted by the fertile and inventive artistry of these writers,” said Goodman. “Our mentors, experts all, are helping these writers hone their work and bring it to the attention of theaters and audiences around the country.” 

Set in India during the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “Muslim in the Midst” by Rao is an intense play that unravels the inherent contradictions and universal conflicts of our time. A chance encounter between two couples turns an act of kindness into a dark journey, fueled by media, into each other’s prejudice, guilt, fear and ignorance.

In “American Hunger” by Mahapatra, two Asian restaurants vie for culinary dominance in their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Crown Heights, while their children begin to question the choices that will make — or break — their prospects as a continuation of the ambitions of their immigrant parents. 

Based on Molière’s Tartuffe, “Tea for Toofi” by Kapoor is a mad-cap farce set in 1980s Orange County, California, and tells the story of a retired computer engineer who invites a Hindu priest into his home to put his godless family to rights. 

These inaugural readings feature works selected after an extensive screening process. One finalist will receive a workshop production on the Playhouse stage. 

Visit BucksCountyPlayhouse.org for more information. The readings are free. Due to space limitations, reservations are required. Visit the website or call 215-862-2121. 

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