The original one-woman show “Muthaland” will be performed by Indian-American actress and playwright Minita Gandhi at Ithaca College on Saturday, April 29. The 5 p.m. performance in Clark Theatre, Dillingham Center, will be followed by a talkback with the artist. The show is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5.
"Muthaland" playwright Minita Gandhi.
Inspired by Gandhi’s own personal journey, “Muthaland” tells the story of a young woman whose life is forever changed on a trip to India, where she unearths family secrets, encounters a prophet and ultimately discovers her voice within a culture of silence. The familiar and the foreign swap roles in this dark comedy about culture, identity, spirituality and sexuality.
Gandhi was born in Mumbai and raised in the United States. In 2014, while foraging through her parents’ basement, she discovered her father’s worn suitcase from his very first journey to the U.S. This sparked her curiosity and led to interviews where her parents shared stories from their history they had never spoken of before. Gandhi realized that by weaving their stories with her own life-changing journey to India in 2009 for her brother’s arranged marriage, she had a powerful story she had to share with the world.
Though the show will have its official world premiere later this year at Chicago’s 16th Street Theatre, Ithaca College is getting a preview thanks to a connection with Kathleen Mulligan, associate professor of theatre arts. Gandhi had been a student of Mulligan’s at PCPA (Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts) Theaterfest in Santa Maria, California. When Mulligan saw Gandhi perform “Muthaland” last October at the Statera Foundation for Women in the Arts Conference, she knew it had to be seen by Ithaca audiences.
As an actress, Gandhi can be seen in the recurring role of Dr. Prospere on NBC’s “Chicago Fire.” She has also appeared on “Empire” and “Betrayal,” among other television series, and her stage credits include Lookingglass Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
She is a master instructor for the Chicago-based Pinnacle Performance Company, where she developed a Women’s Leadership Program and co-created the Women and Femme in the Arts Mentorship Program.