Rangoon – by Mayank Keshaviah
Synopsis: Rangoon revisits Arthur Miller’s take on the American Dream, updating it for the new millennium by setting it in the context of immigrant culture in the post-9/11 world. The inspiration for the story was a 2006 New York Times article that described A.C.L.U. allegations of racial bias among federal prosecutors who coordinated a sting operation to uncover convenience store owners selling ingredients for methamphetamine. On a more personal level, the play looks at the Patels, a Gujarati family whose patriarch, Dhiraj, is desperately trying to succeed in America to offset both personal and familial shortcomings from his past. He manages a 7-Eleven in the rural South and is quite comfortable economically. However in Dhiraj’s mind, success has still eluded him. He must come to terms with balancing tradition with economic freedom and preserving his heritage while keeping his family together, all while becoming an unwitting victim of the success that he so desperately chases.
Setting: The suburban and rural South.
Time Period: The present.
Cast Size: 9 (6M/3W)
DHIRAJ PATEL: A 50 year-old Indian immigrant.
SEEMA PATEL: His wife, a 46 year-old Indian immigrant.
VINAY PATEL: Their 17 year-old son.
TEJAL PATEL: Their 19 year-old daughter.
CHETAN PATEL: Dhiraj’ s 55 year-old cousin.
MOTILAL PATEL: Dhiraj’ s dead grandfather.
MARGE/AGENT STARK: A 40 year-old Southern white woman.
ORLANDO/AGENT GONZALES: A 27 year-old Mexican American.
RANDY: A good ol’ boy in his early twenties.
NOTE: DHIRAJ, SEEMA, CHETAN and MOTILAL have Indian accents, but VINAY and TEJAL speak flawless American English.
Design Needs: A 7-Eleven store, at least partially represented. The living room and kitchen/dining area of a suburban home.
This Play Is: unpublished
Production History: Rangoon was first read at the USC School of Theatre’s Under Construction Festival. Most recently the play was read at New York’s Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in December 2009. It is under consideration for production during Pan Asian Rep’s 2011-2012 season.