The three-day Women Directors Theatre Festival concluded with the one-woman play Quality Street by Maya Krishna Rao from National School of Drama. Quality Street is based on a short story of the same name by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
This solo theatre performance by Maya has a universal appeal and shows a non-stop repartee between a mother and her daughter - with the actor switching seamlessly between characters.
The mother, Ms Njoku of Lagos, Nigeria, can barely cope with her US-returned daughter, Sochienne, who insists on marrying a Kenyan and that too, in their rundown country house where the floor slopes! The light-hearted play has both critical and mass appeal.
The play Quality Street was commissioned by Sangeet Natak Akademi for the Commonwealth Games. Maya, a significant presence in contemporary Indian theatre, is known for her one-woman shows. She acts, sings, dances, creates her own scripts and directs plays. Each show has a distinct language of theatre, ranging from dance theatre, to a rock concert.
The uniqueness of Maya's performances derives also from her training in Kathakali. In her creative work, this allows her to straddle comfortably the worlds of dance and theatre. For more than a decade, she has worked closely with filmmakers and sound designers in search of a contemporary language of performance. She is also among the few Indian women to do stand-up comedy. She also received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for acting for 2010.