OF BROWN': UK TOUR 2 OCT - 1 DEC 2007
Written and performed by Rani Moorthy
the huge success of Curry Tales, Rani Moorthy returns with a thought
provoking one-woman show which tours from 2 Oct to 1 December
2007. 'Shades of Brown' sees Moorthy, with her celebrated mix of
warm and powerful story telling, transforming into funny and poignant
characters who share an ironic kinship through the one thing they
cannot hide or hide from - their skin.
out of the shadows, an albino Zulu meets superstition and prejudice
head-on in a post apartheid South Africa where she is still the
'wrong' colour. On the brink of reversing her condition, an Asian
scientist afflicted by vitiligo questions how brown she is prepared
to go. In India an almost black bride hides her face before marriage,
questioning the damage done by bleaching her skin in pursuit of
money and time is poured into tanning or bleaching, the play explores
how skin colour prejudice is more than an issue of Black/White racism.
As an indicator of identity, ethnicity and status within ones own
community, Rani explores the deep-rooted contradictions and trauma
involved when an individual has too much or too little skin pigment.
Each sympathetic and vibrant monologue portrays the pain of rejection,
feelings of self-hatred and the oppression engendered when skin
colour is questioned, and reveals the challenge that an individuals
colour presents to there own community.
of Brown' is in part inspired by the challenges Rani faced growing
up yearning for the light skin so valued by her Tamil culture. When
she was five years old, her grandmother told her "You are dark
skinned like me. What bad luck, you better be good at something".
Almost all literature and mythology of her upbringing referred to
the beauty of fair skin. From the Karma Sutra to Tantric rituals,
from Hindu myths to Chinese pillow books, there was a blatant message
about skin colour. Dark skinned people were never mentioned or shown
as oppressed, ostracised or demonised. Living in the West for the
last ten years Rani saw the irony that those with naturally light
(white) skin want brown skin, while in Asia and Africa women still
bleach their skin.
shade of brown you are or want to be, this new play is guaranteed
to get under the skin.
Moorthy was born in Malaysia, and came to Britain in 1996. Her previous
solo show Curry Tales became the UK's most widely toured piece of
Asian theatre, also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Rasa have produced
Rani's plays Pooja, Dancing Within Walls and Too Close To Home.
Handful of Henna was seen at the Crucible, Sheffield and her new
drama serial Whose Sari Now will be heard on BBC Radio 4 Woman's
Hour in Oct. Rani has been a guest presenter for BBC1 Heaven