Sarovar Banka

Contact Info

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Philadelphia, PA

Playwright accepts commissions.

Bio

Sarovar Banka developed his playwriting while performing and penning numerous sketches for a comedy group that he co-founded. His first full-length play Ashes was produced in 2001 at Rights and Reasons Theatre in Providence, R.I., while he was an undergraduate at Brown University. After completion of the full length Umbrella Spokes and Apocalypse, he began work on the drama entitled The Moral Implications of Time Travel, which won the Weston Award for Best Undergraduate Play at Brown in 2002. The play went on to a workshop and a staged reading at the Lark Theatre as part of the 2002 Indian Diaspora Playwrights Festival. Response to the play garnered invitations to submit work to several regional theatre companies.
His one acts were subsequently produced in New York City: The Only Surviving Heir of Once Great Maharaja in Despina Productionâ s Seven-Eleven series at the Lower Tenement Theatre (2003), The End of Apurnas commissioned and produced Off Broadway by Rasa Productions at Theatre Row Studios (2003), and A Play for My Dentist in the Hard Lemonade Reading Series at the Asian American Writers Workshop (2004). Sarovar has recently compiled some of his short plays into a single evening (provisionally) dubbed Five Plays for the Visiting Maharaja, which includes previously produced works as well as yet to be produced ones, all of which are comedic and armchair-philosophical in their nature.

It is probably worth mentioning that Sarovar has written, produced, directed, edited, (and sometimes lit and photographed) films. His short Edgar exhibited in 2005 at the Rhode Island International Film Festival and the Rome (GA) International Film Festival. He has written several feature screenplays including his first produced feature film, A Decent Arrangement. Principle photography was completed this year in Chandigarh, India. He wrote, directed, and produced the film, which is currently in post-production.

Sarovar’s appreciation of and work in cinema has in no way diminished his love of compelling theatre, both as a creator, and an audience member. Rather, it has expanded the bounds of his work for the stage. His play Jetlag is a mixed media piece that concerns documentary filmmakers, the idea of reality and its representation through images, and was inspired by his film endeavors. On the strength of this work, Sarovar was invited to participate as a playwright in the 2007 Lincoln Centerâ s Directorâ s Lab. A portion of the play was also presented in a reading series at The Lark theatre sponsored by the Indo-American Arts Council.

Sarovar strives to create and support a nuanced view of South Asian and especially South Asian-American culture that reflect a diversity of experience, while remaining true to his own perspective. Through his work in a wide variety of genres and subjects, he views his heritage as one important aspect of his identity as an artist but never a completely determining one. While much of his work touches in some way on the questions of identity, he seeks to engage not only this concept but also emotional, philosophical and moral ambiguities. He looks forward to collaboration with all kinds of great people.

Plays

Full Length Plays

Ashes
U.S./ India (circa 2000)/(late 60’s and circa 2000)
2W, 2M, chorus/small ensemble

(For reference only, currently not seeking production for this play)

Umbrella Spokes and the Apocalypse
A bare apartment in Los Angeles. Any time.
2M

Oblivious to theory, two otherwise unoccupied men construct and deconstruct the Apocalypse inside their apartment.

The Moral Implications of Time Travel
The suburbs of Detroit. Late 1990’s.
3M, 2W

Heart-wrenching, brutal and surreal, an Indian-American father and son struggle to overcome the pull of violence in their collective past.

Jetlag
A New York apartment, A Los Angeles coffee shop/hotel bar  (Film and Media: India)
Contemporary
2M, 1W

With a non-linear form, Jetlag unfolds as mystery that explores the psychological effect of emotional longing, dislocations of time and space, and the events and influence of people in our lives that result in our failure or success. In the center of the play is a love triangle: a trio of two documentary filmmakers and an aspiring actress so wrapped up in each other’s lives that perhaps the parts are interchangeable.

One Acts & Short Plays

Five Plays for the Visiting Maharaja
A single evening comprised of a collection of One Acts
A small company (Women and Men of various ethnicities, though South Asians required)
Various locations

This collection of one acts are generally comedic and philosophical in their nature.  A few are short and lighthearted such as A Play for my Dentist, a ten-minute which traces the (sweet but not saccharine) emotional relationship between two dentists of different ethnicities through their research and collaboration in dentistry. Others are bit more complex, such as the closing piece, The Birthday Method. New and never produced, an Indian-American banker is subjected to experiments in “pyschological destruction” in a fifty minute farce about who we are as people and if we can choose what we become.

(NOTE: This collection is intended to be terrific fun for a multi-ethnic ensemble. It has been shaped with the goal of having actors of varying ethnicities to play comedy. It is intended for the actors to sometimes play defined by their ethnicity and sometimes not- displaying a wide range of performance especially from those not generally seen with this latitude.)

Browse Sarovar Banka’s plays