The “States of Verbal Undress”, a new verbatim theatre piece which captures the soundscape of contemporary, multi-cultural Britain will be premiered in Manchester on 7th and 8th March 2014.
Produced by Rasa Productions, the show is based on two years of interviews with immigrant communities. It is written and performed by Rani Moorthy, best known for her role as Mrs Bilal in the popular BBC 2 sitcom, “Citizen Khan”.
Over two years, Ms Moorthy worked with fellow artists David Tse (“Yellow Earth”, “Chinatown Arts”), Mehrdad Seyf (30 Bird Productions) and Cilla Baynes (Community Arts Northwest) to collect interviews with recent immigrants and people from Burmese, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Iranian and Vietnamese immigrant communities.
“States of Verbal Undress” uses these verbatim interviews to create characters which cut across race, gender and age, and whose stories contribute to the patchwork fabric of contemporary British identity.
Between them, Ms Moorthy and Mancunion Curtis Cole unveil a variety of colourful characters including a Vietnamese drag artist, a Burmese activist and a Tamil who grew up in Bavaria.
In developing “States of Verbal Undress”, Ms Moorthy was inspired by the work of Anna Deavere Smith (star of “Nurse Jackie”, “The West Wing” and “The American President”).
Ms Smith interviewed people around America with the intention of performing the true voice of America. She said that performing the words of a Korean woman after the L.A race riots as an African American taught her most about the complexity of immigrants and race.
At the cusp of a general election that will have immigration at its heart, Rasa presents an artistic response to current attitudes and prejudices towards the “tidal wave of immigrants”.
Claire Symonds, Studio Programmer/Producer at The Lowry, said: “We are very proud to host the premiere of this extraordinary new show. States of Verbal Undress allows us to explore the diversity and complexity of modern day Britain through very real, very human stories. It demonstrates again that new theatre being made in the North is bold, passionate and exciting.”
Ms Moorthy is Sri Lankan Tamil, born in Malaysia. Race riots took her family to a border town and she was educated in Singapore. She knows first-hand about life as an outsider and one who has had to reinvent herself especially through voice.
Ms Moorthy’s “Curry Tales” was nominated for a MEN best Fringe production when it was performed at The Library Theatre in 2004, it was then was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and went on to tour nationally and internationally.
The world premiere of “States of Verbal Undress” will be held on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th March 2014 at The Lowry Studio, Pier 8, Salford Quays M50 3AZ, at 8pm. Tickets £12. Box Office: 0843 208 6005.