Our next show at the Theater at the 14th Street Y starts tonight. Parts of Parts & Stitches takes place in Pakistan in the year 1947. A joyous wedding turns into a time of violence, and the plays uses magical realism to bring horrific events to life. Award winning playwright Rita Sachdeva, a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, sat down with us to tell us more.
The Y: What’s the show about?
Sachadeva: The play is set in 1947 during the partition of Pakistan and India. It’s about a community that had lived together for generations, then political profiteers created tensions between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs and those “tensions” erupted into mass violence. It’s about the protagonist’s shock of the physical and psychic displacement.
The Y: Why bring this show to the Theater at the 14th Street Y?
Sachadeva: The theater is beautiful and big enough to hold fourteen characters and an epic story. As the YHA, the community here may identify with the loss of land and community, given the history of Jewish people being expelled from so much of Europe; and the community may also resonate with the history of being allies to those who are being persecuted, given, for example, the history of Jewish-Americans support of the Civil Rights Movement. The play deals with divisions and also highlights those who cross the religious boundaries to save each other.
The Y: What makes this show relevant?
Sachadeva: It’s the 65th anniversary of the partition this year. Beyond that, the story of partition is one that exists around the world – from gentrification of communities in New York to Israel/Palestine. We grapple with issues of “loyalty,” “enemy,” “duty” in our daily lives and contemporary partitions. We struggle against the imperial/colonial strategies that divide people who are otherwise willing to live side by side.
The Y: What inspired MT Works to select this play? (Or, for the playwright, why did they choose you!)
Sachadeva: MTWorks is committed to producing new plays and challenging their comfort zones. By choosing this play they are acting on their willingness to do the difficult, sometimes awkward cross-cultural work of learning history and culture they are not familiar with and networking with artists and audiences who they had not yet worked with. At a theater level, they are doing the work that the heroes in the play do.
For more info, visit the 2nd floor theater lobby for a postcard, or visit http://www.mtworks.org.