Amy chats to Sudha Bhuchar creator of Evening Conversations which is heading to Edinburgh Fringe.
Hey Sudha- here’s your chance to give an elevator pitch, can you give us a brief synopsis?
It’s what it says on the tin- A meditation on my ‘squeezed middle’ life as a middle-aged, middle-class, multicultural mother of dual heritage (Indian secular Hindu/Muslim Pakistani), fiercely British, millennial sons. I invite them to ‘crack open a cold one ‘ with me and share their views on life. Their life in leafy Wimbledon is a far cry from my cross-continental immigrant childhood. The show is crafted from our conversations, my lived experience and my quest for creative ageing and self-care! The formula is…
MAGPIE (= ‘steal’) your children’s dialogue
Add a bit of masala and spice
SHAKE it up and serve!
What inspired the show?
My banter and DMCs (deep meaningful conversations) with my sons Samar and Sinan. The older son, Samar’s name means ‘Evening Conversation’ which I thought was an apt title. My sons’ sense of identity and cultural/genetic inheritance is very different from mine and made for some entertaining and piercing conversations which I wanted to share. And it’s great to ‘play’ them!! Payback time! As they are always telling me,
‘You’re the one with the identity crisis mum, not us!’ NOT TRUE OF COURSE…
How important is the Fringe for new work? And how does it feel to be at the Fringe this year?
As a female British Asian actor navigating the triple whammy of age (I had a significant zero birthday recently), race and gender, I feel it’s hugely important to be at the Fringe this year with such a personal offering that I have been sharing around the country. As I marked 40 years in the profession this summer, I have already been at both the Edinburgh International Festival twice and the same at the Fringe with Tamasha, the company I cofounded in 1989. It feels very special to come here with my solo show, bringing my full self into the room. Amidst the criticisms and observations over the years that the Fringe is too white, it’s really important for the Festival to address this deeply, and programme diverse and plural voices and stories.
What are the main themes within the production, and what can audiences expect?
As in LIFE, there and intersecting themes: Inter generational families, Being a parent of young adults; being a young adult making your way post covid and managing expectations; the quest for Home, belonging and happiness; love and loss; representation as an artist of colour; nationhood and allegiances; history, politics and inheritance.
The recent words from poet, Linton Kwesi Johnson at Bradford Literature Festival resonated with me. ‘What you lose you take with you’. This work is crafted from what I have taken with me from my losses. Audiences can expect a heartwarming, funny and life-affirming anecdotal journey.
Laughter on the edge of tears. Tears on the edge of laughter.
Finally, with so many shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, why should people book a ticket to this show?
Through opening a window into my life, Evening Conversations is an invitation to audiences to reflect on their own lives, and the universal themes ensure that the conversations carry on long after the show is over. I am heartened by the responses of diverse audiences so far in places such as the Women of the World Festival, Soho Theatre, Luton Community Centre and literature festivals in Bradford, Leeds and Wimbledon.
Others talk about the show better than I can and here are a couple of examples.
‘Full of truth and beauty. Really Brave. You’ve given my mum a lot of ammo!’- Actor Riz Ahmed
‘Wonderfully ebullient, witty, at times wickedly funny and poignantly political, this is a show that crosses ages, cultures and generations’– Journalist Carole Woddis.
EVENING CONVERSATIONS RUNS FROM AUGUST 22 – 27 AT THE PLEASANCE COURTYARD CABARET BAR AT 14.30 0131 556 6550. http://www.pleasance.co.uk/