The Vault Art festival was back with extraordinary productions across several projects across Waterloo Station. One of them includes the new play by The Thelmas performance art theatre.

Reviewed by Athina Kollakidou

Their new play, written by Guleraana Mir and Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, includes two girls named Santi (Rose-Marie Christian) and Naz (Ashna Rabheru). 

This play takes us back in 1947 in a small village in India. It is set just before the Partition of India. Politicians saw 1947 as independence and freedom however, for the millions of people that lost their lives or the people who were forced to migrate, partition was a living horror. 

Asian Image:

Writer Guleraana Mir stated that this historic episode is rarely shown on stage which I completely agree with and I believe it was incredibly much needed to bring this historic event to life.

Even though the play was set in 1947, we experience the trials and tribulations of life through the innocent eyes of these two young girls. This added more optimistic and humorous note to the production. These two best friends think only of having fun, dancing, mimicking each other and swimming in the lake. 

This begins to change though when Santi has feelings for a young man and Naz is betrothed to an older man with 'yellow teeth and a moustache'. Due to the threat of separation, Naz feelings become confused and unclear. 

Santi’s and Naz’s relationship develops into something deeper which in India was considered until recently a criminal offence (2018). Ashna Rabheru’s is extraordinary in the scene where she begs Santi’s help to escape from the abusive marriage and life that was coming ahead.

This engaging play delves the feelings and emotions that these two girls share for one another and even though the play is based in those unsettling times, Santi and Naz was a funny, and heart warming and poignant production which was extremely well recieved by audiences of all backgrounds.

Written by Guleraana Mir and Afshan D’souza-Lodhi and Directed by Madelaine Moore the show ran from 28 January to 2 February 2020.

The Thelmas’ other show, NOTCH, will be at VAULT from 19 – 23 Feb