Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
The object of our thesis project was to devise and perform a one-person show. The experiment was to see if we could create original, thought provoking and engaging material and then perform this material in a confident and exciting way. The initial execution involved conceiving an idea that we felt compelled enough to talk about for 30-40 minutes. For many of my classmates, this was perhaps the hardest part. I, however, knew from the beginning I had a desire to explore the challenges and complications faced by children of immigrants. My desire was to share stories about my own experience with a clash of cultures. Given the intimate nature of the source material, my own life, my major struggle was finding a form in which to tell my stories. This led me to exploring several different structural devices. My original idea had been to do a cooking show using the curry ingredients as the impetus to tell each story. However, the cooking show format felt too clean and polished. I knew my own struggles and experience to be much more messy and undone that an orderly ‘food network’ style show. This then lead to the idea that I, myself, was cooking a curry dinner for my family as an opportunity for them to meet the very ‘un-Indian’ fiancée. This created the east-meets-west tension I had so hoped for in my original musings about my show. Once the basic foundational idea was formed I was able to create a structure based on my fathers beloved curry recipe. Each ingredient had two monologues paired with it. One monologue was directly delivered to the audience as I spoke to my fiancée and warned him about the impending chaos of meeting the Jain clan. The other partner monologue was an out of time moment where I relived moments of ‘east-meet-west’ clashes, either as myself, or other members of my family. Using an array of dialect work, physical choices, sound cues, and on-screen projections, I was able to transition easily between the characters I created including my cousin in-law, my aunt, my mother, my brother, my grandfathers and two younger versions of myself. The audience seemed very receptive to the material and I have been encourage expand and redefine Curry Bowl for future productions.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.
Jain, Rani Jessica, "Indians and onions : an exploration of the creation of "Curry Bowl" a one-person play" (2013). LSU Master's Theses. 2786.