Theatre503 And Helen Milne Productions Present The World Premiere Of THE ART OF GAMAN

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Theatre503 and Helen Milne Productions present Dipika Guha's The Art of Gaman, shortlisted for the American Playwriting Foundation's prestigious Relentless Award.

An aching exploration of displacement and loss of cultural identity, The Art of Gaman weaves through seven decades in the life of a Japanese woman in the wake of the Hiroshima bombing. Forced to leave her home, Tomomi must harness the strength to find beauty in her struggle, to carve out a new life in a country that considers her an enemy, and to remain truthful to whom she really is.

Dipika Guha is a British playwright. She was born in Calcutta, has lived India and Russia and is currently based in the USA. As well as reaching the final eight for the American Playwriting Foundation's Relentless Award, accolades include receiving A Room of Her Own Foundation's inaugural Shakespeare's Sister Fellowship, being appointed a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and being included on The Kilroy List (produced by LA playwright/producer collective fighting to achieve gender parity in US theatre). The Art of Gaman is her first play to be produced in the UK.

Dipika Guha, playwright: 'This play came from a personal place of reflection as I had been thinking deeply about what it means to 'become' American; to pledge allegiance to one country instead of another. Tomomi's journey was inspired by the true story of my partner's grandmother who married a man she'd never met to avoid Japanese internment in the 1940's. I was struck by the difficulty of an immigrant woman of that generation to take hold of her own story, to make her own narrative when the world was hell bent on telling it for her.'

Ailin Conant, director: 'Dipika Guha's incredible text has provided me with a powerful opportunity to explore and share my own experiences and perspective for the first time on stage. As the daughter of a Japanese-American immigrant, a lesbian who must remain closeted in my mother's native Japan, and a foreigner living in the tension of a post-Brexit climate, my own connections to the play are deep. Its significance echoes the experiences of so many in this moment and at points throughout history - navigating a world in which we are forced to question our identity, where we belong, and what home really means.'

Lisa Spirling, Artistic Director, Theatre503: 'There is a scale and ambition to this play that terrifies and excites in equal measure. Dipika is an extraordinary writer who explores with wit and wonder how we become strangers to ourselves and what it is to be able to find ourselves again. Ailin Conant is a director of immense talent who I am thrilled to have directing this play, her connection to the material and her understanding of the theatricality and nuance it deserves makes for a very special collaboration.'

Established in honour of Philip Seymour Hoffman and his pursuit for truth in the theatre, The Relentless Award looks for plays which are challenging, fearless, truthful, exude passion, and are not mainstream. Previous finalists include Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm's Br'er Cotton, also a finalist for The Theatre503 Playwriting Award 2016 and was produced by Theatre503 in March 2018.

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