First glimpsed in embryonic form as part of the Orange Tree’s Inside/Outside livestreams in 2021, which led to a full-length commission for the main stage, Sonali Bhattacharyya’s play about two sisters sounds absolutely delicious. Asha is 17 years old and a determined rebel who can see the injustice and inequality all around her. She looks to past radicals to show her how to navigate the future. But are they still relevant? Her younger sister Bettina just wants to keep her head down and get through the school day without being bullied. But maybe together they can reset the rules and come up with a newer, fairer world?
Seventeen-year-old Asha is an empathetic rebel, inspired by historical revolutionaries and iconoclasts Sylvia Pankhurst and B R Ambedkar. She’s unafraid of pointing out the hypocrisy around her but less sure how to actually dismantle it. Meanwhile, her younger sister, Bettina, wide-eyed and naïve, is just trying to get through the school day without getting her pocket money nicked. When Bettina turns to her for help, Asha starts to ask what standing up for her political beliefs really looks like. Bouncing with wit, Sonali Bhattacharyya’s upbeat play is a coming-of-age story about the unfairness of growing up in a world where you don’t make the rules. Sonali Bhattacharyya was 2018 Channel 4 writer in residence at the OT, where she wrote Chasing Hares, winning the Sonia Friedman Production Award and Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award, produced at the Young Vic in 2022. Directed by Nimmo Ismail, whose work includes Glee & Me by Stuart Slade and The Christmas Star by Russell T Davies (both Royal Exchange Manchester), Fragments by Cordelia Lynn and My England by Somalia Seaton (both at Young Vic), and SNAP by Danusia Samal (The Old Vic).