Touchstone’s first production of the 2016/17 season is Brothel #9 by Anusree Roy. The final directorial offering from Artistic Director Katrina Dunn, the show stars Vancouver native Laara Sadiq in the lead role as Jamuna and rising star Adele Noronha as Rekha. Rounding out the cast are David Adams as Birbal and Shekhar Paleja as Salaudin.
The show opens with a young woman named Rekha arriving in Calcutta, expecting to begin work in a light-bulb factory. She quickly discovers, however, that she has actually been sold to a pimp named Birbal by her own brother-in-law. When she pleads to go back to her village, Birbal threatens her with violence and tells her matter-of-factly that he will easily be able to track her down if she tries to escape. Moments later, the local police officer Salaudin stumbles upon the scene and Rekha thinks he might be her salvation – but instead he drags her to the back room and rapes her, becoming her first “client.” All through Rekha’s terrified howls, an older prostitute Jamuna sings to herself and makes fish curry, seemingly completely unaffected. Jamuna has long ago become resigned to her trade. In these conditions, Rekha is forced to shape her own destiny and find inner liberty.
Brothel #9 premiered at the Factory Theatre in Toronto in 2011 and has been the winner of multiple awards since. The production runs November 17 to 27, Tues to Sat at 8pm, Sat November 26 and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $28 for adults and $22 for students and seniors. You can find more information at tickets.thecultch.com, and 604.251.1363.