After six years, plays on convenience store workers to end

June 14th, 2009 - 3:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 14 (IANS) After six years of sold-out runs, a series of plays set in the 7-Eleven American convenience store, exploring the cultural experiences of its South Asian and other immigrant employees, is set to close its doors.

The curtain will drop on ‘Seven.11′, the series of seven 11-minute plays that challenge and redefine existing stereotypes of immigrant convenience store employees, with this year’s performance in New York from June 17 to 28, its producers announced.

Desipina & Company, a fusion arts company focusing on film and theatre, deftly employs the eastern dramatic construct to explore immigration and assimilation through this production.

“We spent six wonderful years with many talented writers, actors, directors and this final year is a celebration of all our accomplishments,” said Rehana Mirza, artistic director, noting that with this final year, Desipina is combining the old and the new.

The 7-Eleven convenience store is a dominant American consumer presence from coast to coast and the ideal symbol for such mini-productions.

” ‘Seven.11′ represents some of the edgiest, funniest, most forward-looking and culturally on-the-beat off-Broadway theatre I have experienced,” Nusrat Durrani, senior vice president and general manager, MTV World, told IANS.

“The themes, writing and acting, as well as the passion and inventiveness of the skits sparkle, but it’s the audacity of the entire enterprise that blows you away,” she says.

“Over the years, ‘Seven.11′ has been a metaphor for the provocative and ever evolving nature of New York City, its mad/passionate citizenry and its bittersweet but always enthralling daily drama.”

“As its final few performances are staged, I cannot help but think these ‘Seven.11′ plays are symbolic of the clamour, collision, heartache and humour of the global times we now live in,” adds Durrani.

MTV Iggy (http://mtviggy.com) will be featuring programming involving this final production.

The cast for this year’s “Seven.11 Convenience Theatre” includes the familiar faces of Andrew Guilarte, Kavi Ladnier, Cindy Cheung and Sam Ghosh while also adding to the Desipina family - Tim Cain, Jay Lee and Christopher Larkin.

The seven plays for this year’s production are: “Soonderella” by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri, “Color Me Desi” by Rishi Chowdhary, “One Dollar Box” by Eugene Oh, “A Very Desi Christmas” by Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri, “Closing Up Shop” by Carla Ching, “What’s in Store” by Rehana Mirza, and “Raj Against the Machine” by Vishakan Jeyakumar.

This year’s production also features a vibrant Bollywood closing number choreographed by Sandhya Jain (www.sandhyajain.com) - a professional Bollywood dancer working as a consultant in Indian art, fashion and culture.

Born with the collaboration of sisters Rehana Mirza and Rohi Mirza Pandya, the Desipina mission is to acknowledge the unique differences that exist within the Asian American communities, which are often divided by race, religion, social and economic status.

The project is partly financed with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and also from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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