Why Not Theatre’s production of “A Brimful of Asha” can be viewed online for a “pay what you can” price, with $15 suggested. The 7 p.m. performance on opening night, Friday, Jan. 15, includes a post-show chat with writer/actor Ravi Jain, who co-stars with his mother, Asha Jain.
It’s the latest virtual event in Surrey’s Digital Stage series, a pandemic-era initiative designed “to help people staying home connect with the performing arts.”
The play, recorded at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto, can be viewed online from Jan. 15 to 31 on Vimeo.
“A Brimful of Asha” is billed as “a hilarious, awkward, and true story of generation and culture clash.”
When Ravi took a trip to India, his parents decided that would be the perfect time to introduce him to potential brides. Ravi is not sold on the idea of getting married — at least not yet — but Asha fears that time is running out.
Ravi Jain says the play came about in an organic way after he told friends the story of how his parents tried to arrange his marriage. Because of the way people responded, he thought he should make a show about it.
“I told my Mum, ‘I’m going to make a show about what a terrible mother you are,’ and she said, ‘You’re an idiot, because if I was on stage telling the story, people would see what a terrible son you are and they would side with me.’ So, I said OK, let’s try and do that.”
Ravi said working on a play with his mother was a surprisingly easy and natural process. They built the show through improvisation, and he says they had a good time creating it together.
“My Mum took to being on stage like a fish to water,” said Ravi, “which was interesting, because she is a very shy person. I think because she’s telling a true story and it’s her story it was easy for her. My Mom’s magic is to make audiences feel like they are hearing that story for the first time.”
Since its debut nine years ago, “A Brimful of Asha” has sold-out several runs in Toronto and played across Canada. The play has also been performed internationally, in London, South Carolina and New York.
Ravi, who believes that the primary function of theatre is to connect people from different countries and cultures, said he’s thrilled the show is being presented by Surrey Civic Theatres as its first Digital Stage show of 2021.
“I hope people have a good time and have a good laugh watching the show,” he says. “What has been interesting is that people come up to me after the show and say things like, ‘When I was your age I agreed with you, and now that I’m older I agree with your Mom.’ It really does appeal to so many people and I think that’s because the show feels like family.”
Looking ahead, Surrey’s next Digital Stage shows are Krystle Dos Santos’ BLOOM|BURN album showcase (starting Jan. 29) and “Fifty Shades of Vinyl: A Canadian Parody” (HappySad Theatre’s “loving tribute to Stuart McLean with a saucy twist,” starting Feb. 12). For more details visit surrey.ca/theatres.