Shunya Ends 2014 with Bhopal

Bhopal 1in

HOUSTON: Shunya Theatre, Houston’s non-profit South Asian dramatic organization, ends its 2014 season with the regional opening of “Bhopal,” a drama that is set against the backdrop of the worst industrial tragedy in history.

While thirty years ago the Bhopal tragedy shocked the world when it killed thousands and maimed hundreds of thousands, today it continues to affect Bhopal’s citizens and their progeny. Through his intricate portrayal of various characters, playwright Varma explores the very personal ways that the event had an impact across all layers of society. Director Dianne K Webb believes that because Varma spins a fictional tale amidst this very real event, it provides the audience with an opportunity “to join the characters in their emotional and revelatory journey.” Varma’s success lies in creating characters that are not purely good or evil, but complex heroes that give the actors a chance to really dig in to bring them to life on the stage.

Director Dianne K Webb says she was drawn to the script that playwright Varma wrote as he “captured the layers and tensions across cultures and circumstances” along with “the politics that conspired to create the tragedy that is and remains Bhopal” through his story telling focused on the varied players as well as the survivors and their experience. Webb believes the play will give viewers the chance “to deepen and broaden their perspective on humanity.” While the play may focus on a true event, the play’s success lies in the fact that through its fictional characters it gives a new context to a global event that deserves to be remembered in the pages of history.

Guest director Dianne K. Webb, from Houston’s Next Iteration Theater, brings together Shunya actors who are old favorites—Deeba Ashraf as Izzat, Karthik Chander as Devraj Sarthi, Prateek Karkal as Jaganlal and some new faces including Charanya Ravikumar as Madiha, Sam Stengler as Warren Anderson, Laura Schlecht as Dr. Sonya Labonte and Brandon Hobratschk as Sauvé Pascal. Bhagreshi Karkal will open the show with a traditional dance while Jason Zinn will provide live tabla playing throughout the show.

“Bhopal” plays at the Spring Street Studio 101, 1824  Spring Street, 77007,  from November 13 through November 23, Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.  and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview show is Thursday November 13.

For further information visit the Shunya Theater website at