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Indian Wants The Bronx - A Powerful Presentation

Ranjani Saigal
12/13/2004

Alarm Clock Theater Company’s presentation of Israel Horovitz’s famous off-Broadway play “The Indian Wants the Bronx” took its audience on an emotional rollercoaster. The powerful presentation of this classic on urban violence – a play that helped launch Al Pacino in the intimate setting   of the Black Box Theater at the Boston Center for the Arts promises to shake the audience and provide much food for thought.

Set in Bronx at, it is the tale of two tough guys (Murph played by Adam Reed and Joey played by Bil Gaines) who come across an elderly Indian gentleman (Gupta played by Bharat Bhushan) who has lost his way. All of them are waiting at a bus stop for a bus taht never comes. The tale opens with the establishment of the two characters Murph and Joey as two angry teenagers growing up under unfortunate circumstances. They use violence as a means to hide their insecurities. As they wait at the bus stop with really no place to go, they play games which are perhaps the only thing in their lives that they can plan and control.

They see the Indian gentleman who does not speak any English sitting at the bus stop and violently abuse him. Much of the play revolves around a phone booth, which almost functions as a fourth character, a would-be lifeline for the abused Indian man.

The acting had punch. The roles were challenging - often changing color – sometimes at a moment’s notice and all three characters handled the change with great aplomb. Bharat Bhushan as Gupta delivered a fine performance. He had very few lines – all in Hindi and yet his presence was strong.

Why did Bharat want to do the play? “Situations like "Indian wants the bronx" are very universal and classic in nature. It is unfortunate that it is.. but I think part of the reason is because people from rest of the world do not know much about Indians. We are an exotic species. When people go out to an Indian restaurant, it should not be because it is exotic but because it is good. I think it is our responsibility that our voice gets heard, our stories are told. I foresee a bigger role for brown people in arts and commerce in the whole world  and by doing the play I feel I was doing my part.” says Bharat. 

John Mathew, a member of  South Asian American Theatre (SAATH) strongly recommends seeing the play. "I had the opportunity to watch the play, and while the viewing was  difficult because of the nature of the events unfolding, it made for a very  powerful message in embodiment of theme - something as relevant today as when the play premiered in the late 1960's. At a time when minority voices and those on the margins need to be heard, it bears thinking about what happens when they can't be.  The upcoming weekend is the last for the show, and if you can make it, the play will indubitably provide much fodder for thought. " says Mathew.

The upcoming weekend is the last for the show.

Performance dates:
 December 16, 17, and 18 at 8pm
 December 19, 2004 at 2pm

 Location:
 Black Box Theater, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street,
 Boston.

 Tickets are available at www.bostontheatrescene.com, or by calling 617-933-8600.
Cost: $15, students and seniors $12.

For more information go to our website:  www.alarmclocktheatre.org.



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