Nine Contemporary Plays
By Arjun Raina
Arjun Raina- Nine Contemporary Plays with stories from India and the diaspora in Austria and Australia. This is the first-ever anthology of plays by a South Asian playwright and actor Arjun Raina. Arjun’s plays have been commissioned by, and performed at some of the finest theatre festivals of Europe, including the Zurich Specktakel, the Vienna Festwochen, Linz 09, the Bharat Rang Mahotsav, and the International theatre festival of Kerala.
It encompasses a two-decade-long theatrical exploration of the lives of contemporary Indians, both in the home country and in the diaspora of Austria and Australia. The works are a chronicle and critique of political and contemporary social relationships in South Asia and the diaspora.
The collection is bookended by plays concerned with two cataclysmic world events. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre which is the backdrop for the first play, A Terrible Beauty is Born. Camp Darwin, the second last play in the anthology, evokes a life lived in an Australian Quarantine Centre during the present Coronavirus Pandemic. From the phenomenon of International Call Centres in India, to the political and economic fallout of a fast-globalising India as played out over the bodies of its citizens, to the rise of Hindu Nationalism. Also, the emotional trauma of Indian migrants in Austria, to issues of race and prejudice as experienced by the Indian Hawkers in 19th Century Australia. The author’s
own experience as a new migrant to Australia, the plays chronicle and critique the steady rise and increasing presence of South Asian/ Indian characters on the contemporary global creative consciousness. These Indian characters engage with American, Austrian, and Australian characters making for diverse and inclusive casts.