A Brimful Of Fun In A Brimful of AshaThursday, January 23, 2014
|Asha & Ravi Jain|
Anything to do with India has always been for me a dark mystery particularly as I might have heard my Filipino mother utter in a whisper, “Bombay", pronounced Bom-bye when I was a child in Buenos Aires.
In 1950 the newly independent India opened an embassy in Buenos Aires and my father, a journalist for the Buenos Aires Herald, moonlighted as a translator for the Embassy. One day, he invited his Hindoo (that’s how he spelled the word) friends for lunch in our home. My father, a very good cook, decided to prepare Indian curry. The four, very dark men, two in turbans arrived in their Hillman Minx. I could not decide what was more exotic the car or the four men and especially those two with turbans. My only exposure to turbans was Gunga Din with Cary Grant (who did not wear a turban) and Errol Flynn in Kim who did. My mother seemed to be afraid of the four and she soon disappeared. As a little girl in Manila Bombays were bogey men who would take her away if she did not behave.
It was much later when I was older that my mother told me that all Indians were called Bombays because the four letter word to fornicate in Tagalog was hindu followed by a t, it was too close for comfort.
When I told this story to Asha Jain’s son Ravi (both act and wrote the play A Brimful of Asha and directed by her son) he laughed and consented to pose for this blog’s photograph.
A Brimful of Asha, a play which is the Art Club Theatre’s contribution (7 years in this) to the Push International Performing Arts Festival (in full swing) is a most economical way of escaping our Vancouver winter bleakness. You need not book to go to Puerto Vallarta or to take Art Bergmann’s advice to Let’s Go to Fucking Hawaii. You just need to see this awfully funny play that is supposed to be the true story (irrelevant to the funny story be it true or not) of Asha Jain and her husband doing everything possible to dissuade their son from going into the theatre and to marry him off to a girl in India.
This becomes a battle of wills and of two cultures (Asha began her married life as a young woman in Toronto) in which the funny son (not an engineer, not a doctor but an actor who could easily be a stand up comedian) has as a foil a deadpan mother. Asha Jain is even funnier because even though her English is good she manages, every once in a while to put an adjective or a verb in the wrong but right place. Ravi Jain manages to make the presence of his father and many relatives known in skits that are full of bittersweet humor. It seems that any conflict between a son and his parents must somehow be a universal occurrence to all cultures.
A Brimful of Asha is a retelling of the events that began in 2007 and I will not divulge here the resolution. Suffice to say that for a lot less money than it might take to pay for that limo to the airport you can have a warm evening of escape in someone’s home (almost) and forget the cyan sky over the North Shore Mountains and perhaps hope that spring is around the corner.
I must thank Julie Fox’s design for selecting colours that warmed my insides even though it was my 16 year-old granddaughter Rebecca who was enjoying hot chocolate.
A Brimful of Asha is on at the Granville Island Revue Stage until February 8.