It is Ladies Sangeet Night in the Cheema household. The guests are dancing to Bhangra and Bollywood tunes. In the kitchen elder sister, Daljit is slaving over a hot stove, while her younger sibling Simran flirts outrageously with Jagjit – her brother-in-law. Meanwhile, Mum and Masi Ji (maternal aunt), entertain the guests by performing giddha and singing folk songs.
As the celebrations reach their peak, sibling rivalry emerges and the two generations of sisters find themselves struggling with much more than bhajias and bhaturas. Behna is a funny, warm and emotional look at the hidden drama of a family struggling with private jealousies and family secrets in the midst of public weddings, births and separations.
Kali Theatre Company’s intimate new production is performed in a real kitchen. The audience is invited to join the celebrations and then eavesdrop into the relationships of a typical Punjabi family giving new meaning to the term, “kitchen sink drama”.
“This wonderfully engaging and moving play is set in a Kitchen so we decided to perform it in one! There is something very intimate and special about sitting in a real kitchen and watching these moments of real life drama play out in front of you,” says director, Janet Steel.
Behna was first presented in a real kitchen in a house in Birmingham and around the Black Country in March 2010.
The show will arrive in London April 28 – May 20 where it will be performed as a site specific production in the kitchen of a real house. The show will also be performed in the real homes of people during the month of May. Directed by Janet Steel, Behna features a cast of five: Sandeep Garcha (Mum); Shaleen Hudda (Dal); Hema Mangoo (Simi); Gurpreet Singh (Jag) and Balvinder Sopal (Masi ji).
Written by Sonia Likhari, Behna was developed as part of Kali’s writer development programme and originally workshopped as part of the Kali Asian Women Talkback Festival at Soho Theatre, 2006.
For more information on the Kali Theatre, visit www.kalitheatre.co.uk