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Deepa Purohit participated in the Creative Fellowships Initiative in partnership with School of Drama.
Deepa Purohit has been a member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab since September 2014. She is the co-founder of Rising Circle Theater Collective, a theater company dedicated to developing and producing the unheard stories of people of color on the American stage. As Artistic Director of Rising Circle, for 12 years, Deepa oversaw the development of over 20 plays by writers of color.
Works include: “M Experience” (in dev’t with Noelle Ghoussaini, Dir.), A Valentine (Ma Yi Lab Fest 2017), the sometimes true, sometimes fictional story of 2 likely, but unlikely friends OR The Untitled Yolande Project (Rising Circle’s June 2017 Refinery Workshop, Recipient of 2016 Family Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm w/Lilly Awards Foundation, developed in part with Ma-Yi Writers Lab and SPACE on Ryder Farm, 2015), and Bones (Ma-Yi Writers Lab, 2015 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist). Other plays include: Flight (2011), three devised works, based on interviews, co-written with Sanjit De Silva, produced by Rising Circle Theater Collective: Pulling the Lever (2004, Published in Plays and Playwrights 2006, 2004 NYIT Award for Best Ensemble), Grace (2010), The American Family Project (2007).
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Deepa spent time in her residency working on her play Bones. In her words: "It was inspired by the question: what does early grief in the stage immediately after the cremation of a loved one look like for a family, especially when the family discovers inadvertently that the person who died was indeed the glue needed to hold that family together? How do the relationships between the four women (three sisters and a mother) left behind change or become amplified once the man of the house is gone?
The final third of the play takes place on a boat. The three sisters take the boat out on a lake to throw their father's ashes to the sea as they say. Seattle's location on the water provided the perfect opportunity to take a boat ride to Bainbridge Island and back and feel that sensation of being on boat in open water. I took that ferry ride. I also rewrote the first 45 pages of the play during the week I was in Seattle. I spent time doing character work on each of the three sisters, discovering deeper traits, similarities and differences between the three. I also changed some of their given circumstances to give more color to their interactions to one another. I would write in the mornings and in the afternoons and then would head to the drama library to read other plays. I met with the UW graduate students, went to a march to protest the travel ban, saw a performance of the The Cherry Orchard which I quite enjoyed and a wonderful dance performance inspired and paying tribute to the death of Philando Castile. All of these experiences enriched my work as I sat down to write every day.
This August I plan to finish the rewrite of Bones I started in Seattle. I will write through that month and will organize a two day workshop with my directing partner to hear the play out loud and finalize the rewrites of the piece."