British Indian playwright Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’ debuts in Chicago

Tanika Gupta

Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” has made its way to a Chicago theater.

CHICAGO (Diya TV) — Charles Dickens’ famous novel ‘Great Expectations’, adapted by British-Indian playwright Tanika Gupta, has made its way stateside, the production debuted in Chicago on May 11 and will continue through July 2. It is being co-presented by Silk Road Rising and the Remy Bumppo Theatre.

The production is co-directed by Lavina Jadhwani and Nick Sandys.

Transplanted in Calcutta in a colonial India, this tale of aspiration, intrigue, and romance features  Indian orphan Pip, played by Anand Bhatt, and a cast of multi-ethnic characters. Pip receives a mysterious inheritance, and is forced to chose between his humble rural life and the city life of an English “gentleman.”

Gupta’s adaptation brings out the clash of cultures, classes, and conscience, to expand Dickens’ question: Is it worth losing who you are for who you might become? Gupta, who was born in Bengali, originally adapted Great Expectations for English Touring Theatre’s production in 2011.

“This new version transports Dickens’ narrative with a specificity and theatricality that is truly exciting-and yet 90% of the dialogue comes directly from the novel,” Remy Bumppo Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys on the play’s website.

“Gupta has adapted this classic with absolute valour and aplomb,” said Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury. “This is not an attempt to superimpose or meld cultural contexts. Rather, it’s a telling of the Dickens’ story that brilliantly reimagines and re-centers it-all while honoring the genius of the 19th century narrative.”


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