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REVIEW: Two Parties One Stor(e)y

Meeting the in-laws: Cultural similarities and differences

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Roshni & Vikram on one side, Mary & Peter on the other, are about to be introduced to their future daughters-in-law. What starts out as an unsuspecting family dinner for all, quickly escalates into a crisis of revelations, with sexism being served on the menu at the dinner table.

An entertaining Indian link stood out from the ‘biggest little play festival’ Short and Sweet Theatre Sydney which concluded this past weekend. ‘Two Parties One Stor(e)y’, a 10-minute play written by podcaster Virat Nehru and directed by thespian Taufeeq Ahmed Sheikh was among the short plays put up at Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills.

‘Two Parties One Stor(e)y’ juxtaposed an Indian family dinner and a white Australian family dinner, where sons from both families brought home their girlfriends. A curious premise to watch unfold.

Indian-origin actors Suman Mathur, Nisar Sirguroh, and Kashyap Acharya respectively played the mother, father, and son roles of the brown family, while the girlfriend was played by Italian actress Giulia Fabbri. The mother, father, son, and girlfriend from the white family are played by Laura Hefer, Darren Nicholls, Austin Waterson, and Kate Smytheman, respectively.

Image supplied

The pair of families are seated side by side like ‘The Last Supper’ painting, and we get to see, one after the other, what the two units make of the same situation.

A fun example is, the Indian son is a bit stressed about the dinner, and in true desi fashion introduces his girlfriend to his parents as ’just a friend’ trying to downplay their romantic relationship. On the other hand, the white son is a cool cucumber, yet controversially utters the words, ‘we don’t want to put a label on it’. Both girlfriends are fuming at this point.

Over the course of the short play, the two families put on display the widely different ways in which conversation can flow, that the other family could probably never see coming.

Tensions arise when both mothers begin unpacking their marriages, and in that moment, we see shared sentiments between the two families.

If you’re Indian, be prepared for familiar laughs, family drama, and to sing along to a famous evergreen Hindi tune. If you’re not, don’t worry, you will be entertained.

Although the ‘Short and Sweet’ festival boasts a goal of becoming a tool for diversity in the entertainment industry, the majority of plays did not seem to promote voices or stories ‘from the community’ (as they put it), instead, they seemed more like entertainment for a mainstream audience.

Some other multicultural aspects at the festival included a Brazilian-Australian protest play against President Jair Bolsonaro and a unique non-linear play with an Asian Australian woman as the protagonist.

If you missed ‘Two Parties One Stor(e)y’ at Short and Sweet Sydney this time, you can see it again in February 2022 at Sydney’s Lane Cove Theatre company.

READ ALSO: Raghav Handa: TWO’s company

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Bageshri Savyasachi
Truth-telling, tree-hugging journalist.

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