NZ's largest south-Asian theatre company stages world premiere

Jacob Johnson
Source: 1News

It's a show 18 months in the making, but Prayas Theatre is bringing their latest production Dhaba on Devon Avenue to Kiwi audiences.

"The play is an inter-generational story about a family and their restaurant which they've owned for 30 years," says director Sananda Chatterjee.

"It's now facing some financial difficulties, so it's them, working out what to do with it."

The five-cast show, written by American playwright Madhuri Shekar, was supposed to premiere in Chicago last year, but it was cancelled due to the pandemic.

So it's been tweaked to take place in Aotearoa.

"It was meant to go in August then we got that lovely lockdown in Tāmaki," says Chatterjee.

"So we have been put in May, and fingers crossed."

Prayas Theatre was co-founded 17 years ago by Amit Ohdedar, who also stars in this production.

"Prayas is in Sanskrit," says Ohdedar.

"And it roughly translates as 'endeavour' or 'an attempt'."

Ohdedar says the theatre has been part of his 'attempt' to connect Kiwis with South Asian culture - anyone is welcome to join.

"We have this policy of running the organisation as an open platform so people can just come in."

The group eventually want to take Dhaba on Devon Avenue on tour.

"We've not been able to because it is voluntary, it's a not for profit, so we really struggle," says Chatterjee.

"Which is one of the reasons we decided to go for a smaller cast."

The show premieres Thursday, at The Auckland Performing Arts Centre and runs until Sunday, June 5.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $35.