StageHappenings: The Indians Are Coming To Dinner

The Pacific Resident Theatre is proudly presenting the world premiere of a play, The Indians Are Coming to Dinner by Jennifer W. Rowland, the third show of their 25th season. The time is November, 1984, the place, the Blackburn home in San Francisco. Ronald Reagan has just won a landslide election; Indira Ghandi has just been assassinated by her bodyguards, and this comedy is about family relationships and politics. Rowland focuses on East-West relationships, as well, in this well-written play performed by a superb cast under the direction of Julia Fletcher

Harold Blackburn, the patriarch of the family (Michael Rothhar) opens the play dressed as a Maharajah revealing the reason for his attire. Harold is a successful businessman, but dreams of attaining something more to further his ego. At this time, he is hoping to be appointed as the next Ambassador to India. This sets the plot for why The Indians Are Coming to Dinner.

Tonight Henry and his wife Lynn (the perky Sara Newman) are expecting guests for dinner in the form of government official Anil Desai (Kevin Vavasseur) and his son Deepok (Rikin Vasani). Frivolous Lynn is desperately trying to plan an authentic Indian dinner with the help of Woo (delightful Peter Chen), the family’s longtime cook.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old daughter Alexandra (charming Thea Rubley) has arrived home from college. She has a dream of her own to become an opera star and is scheduled to compete that same night in a competition that could earn her a position with an Italian Opera Company. However, Harold, expecting, and counting on, the entire family to be present when the Indians come for dinner, is under the impression that Alexandra has come for just that. Unfortunately Harold and the flippant Lynn are oblivious to their daughter’s wish to be come an opera singer, and when Harold discovers that she does not intend to be at the dinner, he becomes incensed and insists that she be there. Alexandra looks to her younger brother Christopher (Justin Preston) for solace as if he hasn’t his own problems with Mother and Father who seem to be unmindful of both of their children as they go about their own daily lives. Hilarious scenes occur when the Indians finally arrive for their dinner with the Blackburns. Rubley has a chance to perform during the play displaying a beautiful operatic voice.

Tom Buderwitz has created a well-appointed two-level set representing the home of the Blackburns in the form of a downstairs family room, a dining room, a kitchen (not seen off of the dining room), and three bedrooms upstairs.

The Indians Are Coming to Dinner continues at the Pacific Resident Theatre, 703 Venice Blvd. in Venice, playing Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 3 PM, through March 25. For tickets, call (310) 822-8392 or go online at Recommended.

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