Emotions, tragedy, drama, music … all that makes a play complete is encapsulated in ‘The Other Way’, an Australian play about four Western Sydney families whose lives are interconnected by an Indian woman, who has lost her children in a large suburban shopping centre during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The play covers the vast prospects and diverse facts of society. It portrays the various problems a person faces while living in a foreign country. Australia being a multicultural country, there are people from different regions of the world, and sometimes it is difficult for them to adjust to the new culture.
A thought-provoking dynamic play, ‘The Other Way’ was told with humour, music and passion and has been developed by Sydney Theater Company, BYDS, local students and members of the Bankstown community using real stories from the community as inspiration.
The Other Way takes the audience into the lives of four families from four cultures — Macedonian, Lebanese, Australian and Indian — living in Australia, each of them struggling in their own way to cope with societal needs, while maintaining roots with their own cultural backgrounds.
The play explores the double lives the families lead. Within the four walls of their homes, all these families differ in their ways of living, offering prayers, eating habits, dressing, but once they step outside their homes, they behave very differently.
In the Indian household, the play follows the lives of a mother and her two children. The role of mother is played by Aishveryaa Nidhi, a veteran theater artiste. At home, the language of the household is Hindi, the mother teaches her children how to offer prayers, the India moral code of conduct and so on.
Aishveryaa, as an artiste, is certainly paving the way for Indian community to move forward in theatre and does her best to create opportunities for Indians on stage. Whether it is Short & Sweet Theatre or working with STC, ABC or Opera Australia, she is always keen on creating opportunities for artists from the Indian community.
No wonder all the shows ran to full houses, with several members of the audience saying they appreciated the way Indian culture was showcased in the play.
Anupam Sharma, a prominent producer, director and actor, said: “It was very encouraging to see a vibrant ensemble covering the rich spectrum of a multicultural Sydney in a mainstream venue like STC. It was great to see an artiste like Aishveryaa flying the flag for Indian actors along with some other brilliant actors from various communities.”
“I would say it was very engaging and effectively portrayed a day in a suburb of Sydney,” added Anupam.
Writer and director of The Other Way, Stefo Nantsou, said he was overwhelmed with the audience response. “It is one of my proudest achievements. I am very impressed by the commitment of the whole cast; they did a wonderful job. As an actor, I enjoyed performing in the play. As a musician I enjoyed playing the guitar in it and as a director I enjoyed working with the cast,” said Stefo.
Claudia Taranto, a member in the audience of one of the houseful shows, said, “I really enjoyed the play. It won’t be wrong to say that it was a fruitful collaboration between the STC and the Bankstown group.”
The play was performed by a unique ensemble of four professional actors, fifteen senior student actors and five guest performers including Aishverya and Shourya Nidhi. The play also featured Sydney’s renowned hip-hop artist Matuse.