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Mixed-root family portrait

Canadian-Indian theatre person Cara Escott will unfold an experimental dialogue drama with her multi-cultural family for an open audience today.

art and culture Updated: Feb 26, 2012 15:29 IST
Megha Mahindru
Megha Mahindru
Hindustan Times

This Sunday night, if you aren’t getting your fill of drama from daily soaps, Canadian-Indian theatre person Cara Escott may have a solution. The 25-year-old is putting together an unusual performance titled Brown Bread, White Bread, which she explains, is her “family portrait.”

The cast will include Cara along with her mother Doris Rajan of Tamil origin, Canadian father Brian Escott, French stepfather Pierre Tetrault and her three siblings. What makes this odd is the fact that the cast is not yet aware of their role. “I haven’t told my family about it. The idea is to present them naturally. I’m orchestrating a portrait, not of photographs, but of real eople. As the curator or the puppeteer, I’ll make them dance to my tunes,” she says.

Ask Cara what inspired her to put her private life into the public sphere, and the third generation Canadian says, “I want to highlight the fact that we are all immigrants. I may look Indian, but I can’t speak in Hindi or even count till teen (three). Thro-ugh this social experiment, I want to highlight this type of mixed Indian who exists. If I can get these differences across to my audience in the correct manner, my job is done.”

Bring to her notice the fact that many from her audience may not be interested in their private life and Cara admits that this performance installation-meets-theatre-meets-comedy project could fall flat. “My job is to figure out how to portray their characters. However, it could all become about me in the end, and frankly, that would be boring. It’s a ‘meet my family’ experiment, somewhat like a talk show with witty, funny characters like my mother, a 51-year old Tamil woman with a Canadian accent, who describes dosa as Indian pancakes.”

In 2010, Cara, who calls herself a village jester, enthralled Mumbai audiences at TedX Mumbai and Bandra’s Café Goa with her poetry-rap performance where she explored the same existential theme. Ask her what she expects this time around and she seems just as eager about the results. “It’s a selfish experiment. But my family has a great theatre background and I’m hoping to see some surprising reactions to this live portrait,” she says.

Attend Brown Bread, White Bread at False Ceiling Gallery today, 7 pm onwards. Entry free.

First Published: Feb 26, 2012 14:28 IST