The Lyric's new Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan, is kicking off her tenure with this intriguing re-imagining of Ibsen's classic play about gender politics. Adapted by Tanika Gupta, it relocates the story to Calcutta in 1879 - the year Ibsen's play was first performed and a time when Imperial power structures was consolidated in a way that made racial distinctions increasingly rigid and formalised. Queen Victoria has just been declared 'Empress of India', but what do the changing times mean for the women of India who were married to Englishmen?
Rachel O’ Riordan made a big success of her time running the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff so hopes are high as she takes on one of London’s trickiest theatres – but potentially one of its most rewarding. Her first season kicks off with a version of Ibsen’s classic play which relocates the drama to Calcutta in 1879. Niru, a young Bengali woman who has married Tom, an English colonial bureaucrat, finds herself at the mercy of society’s expectations - which demand that she subjugates her own identity. Anjana Vasan, so good in Rutherford and Son at the NT, plays Niru in Tanika Gupta’s new version.
Calcutta. 1879. Niru, is a young Bengali woman in a mixed-race marriage with an English colonial bureaucrat – Tom. Tom loves Niru, exoticising her as a frivolous plaything to be admired and kept. But Niru has a long-kept secret. And just as she thinks she is almost free of it, it threatens to bring her life crashing down around her. Tanika Gupta reimagines Ibsen’s classic play of gender politics through the lens of British colonialism, offering a bold, female perspective exploring themes of ownership and race. Rachel O’Riordan makes her directorial debut as Artistic Director of the Lyric, in a production that gives new urgency to the forces that drive our heroine to choose between society’s expectations and her own identity. Age Recommendation: 11+