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BWW Interview: Rahul Chitella Talks ISLANDS OF CONTENTMENT Starring Laura Gómez, Daphne Rubin-Vega and More!

Previews begin tonight, April 9, with an opening set for April 16! The production will run through May 2.

BWW Interview: Rahul Chitella Talks ISLANDS OF CONTENTMENT Starring Laura Gómez, Daphne Rubin-Vega and More!

From The Tank and Hypokrit Productions in association with Autonomous Works comes a new, completely unique, interactive virtual production, ISLANDS OF CONTENTMENT. Written by Dipti Bramhandkar and directed by Arpita Mukherjee & Hannah Wolf, Islands of Contentment is composed of thirteen monologues about the complexities of romantic relationships. Featuring a combination of live performance, audience participation and filmed monologues, which are directed by Rahul Chitella, this original theatrical event features two different journeys that the audience can take: SEVEN LAYER CAKE or BROWNIE, in a fun, participatory format that allows them to experience both.

The cast of Islands of Contentment includes Nina Davuluri (#COMPLEXion), Laura Gómez ("Orange is the New Black"), Florencia Lozano (Rinse, Repeat), Ajay Naidu (Ashes), Vinay Pathak ("A Suitable Boy"), Dileep Rao (Avatar), Bobby Daniel Rodriguez ("When They See Us"), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Miss You Like Hell), Lipica Shah (India Pale Ale), Suraj Sharma ("Little America"), Sathya Sridharan (Wives), Sumeet Vyas (One by One) and Rita Wolf (The Michaels).

Islands of Contentment premieres on CyberTank tonight, Friday April 9, 2021, and will officially open April 16, runing through Sunday May 2, 2021.

For tickets, visit thetanknyc.org/islandsofcontentment.

We spoke with Rahul Chitella about what to expect from Islands of Contentment, the process of directing the filmed monologues and more!


The format of this show is entirely unique! What can audiences expect?

A fun ride! The monologues written by Dipti Bramhandkar are so endearing that the audience would very quickly and easily recognize and relate to these characters and the moments in their relationships that they're sharing.

How will the experience differ for viewers based on the experiences that they choose? Either the one course, the two-course package inside the zoom, or the two-course package outside the Zoom.

Outside the Zoom would purely be a streaming of the show. However, inside the Zoom becomes an intimate event where a live narrator takes you through these monologues and makes it more interactive. There are four courses in all (two for odd days and two for even days). Audiences can select either one or two of them. What's exciting is that no two courses would be the same. Different actors will be performing different monologues in each course. Even if you choose to take two courses, you'd still see perhaps the same monologue performed by two different actors in a completely different setup. That's the fun of theatre, coming to your home!

Can you tell me about the monologues that you directed?

I've directed five of the monologues - A Nice Guy with Suraj Sharma, It is Written with Maanvi Gagroo, Put a Ring on it with Sumeet Vyas, Plan for a Miracle with Vinay Pathak and One Girl's Guide to Self-Pleasure with Kalki Koechlin. It was exciting to assemble and work with these actors who come from such diverse backgrounds.

How did the format of the show influence your approach in directing the monologues?

It has been a very interesting experience. While it is theatre, it is also embracing the viewing experience of watching onscreen via Zoom. This allowed me to approach this as a theatrical piece primarily but yet keeping in mind that the action within the sacred frame is engaging, like in a film. Also, the five monologues are so different from each other and I wanted to explore each very differently with regards to the setting. My aim was to transport the audience to the lives of these characters beyond the moment that they let us into the text.

What has it been like for you working with this incredible cast?

Liberating! The cast has been exceptional and such a dream to work with. While I've worked with some of them in the past, this has been a new experience where we converted all the restrictions into advantages to explore and create freely.

What do you hope that audiences take away from Islands of Contentment?

It's been a hard year for all, and Dipti's writing and the actors' performances, I hope, will transport the audience to a place of familiarity. The moments and stories are so relatable and beautifully simple that you'll know you're not alone, ever.

Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share?

Islands of Contentment is a unique show bridging so many different worlds. Even in these testing times, companies like Hypokrit are constantly making art that have something to say. Right from marrying multiple formats so seamlessly to allowing actors and creators from across the oceans to collaborate and come together to put on this show, it's been a fantastic journey. It's one of those shows that makes every challenge worth it!


For more information, visit: https://thetanknyc.org/islandsofcontentment


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