Meet Madhuri Shekar
Madhuri Shekar is a playwright and screenwriter, who counts Chennai, Los Angeles, and Jersey City as her different homes.
Tell us something you’re currently excited about.
I am currently incubating LIFE inside my uterus that will exist outside of me by the end of this month! Nothing else comes close to how intense and insane this experience is.
How does your MENASA identity inform your artistic work?
I love writing about my culture and the complexities and contradictions within it. I was born in California, but the majority of my childhood was in India. My identity there made me part of India's dominant class, so I never lacked for representation in the media in the way I would have if I had grown up here. Because of that, I find that most conversations on representation in the U.S. wind up inadvertently centering whiteness as the thing to struggle against/dismantle, and at this point, I just find that boring. I want to write interesting stories about interesting people, while being highly specific about their world and how they inhabit it.
Do you have a bucket list project?
I want to write a big epic musical with insanely catchy songs.
What are the big questions you're preoccupied with right now?
What are my ethical responsibilities as a citizen when it comes to the most painful but necessary ways to make change -- engaging with my family on their politics, making myself uncomfortable, sacrificing money/time/energy when it is so easy not to, when the capitalist hustle is explicitly designed to shut that motivation down.
What’s the weirdest thing about you you’re willing to put in print? Or anything else you want to tell us!
Have you seen Little Women yet? It's great. It's so great. So is Cats. I'm so grateful Cats exists in our world. It gives me hope.
Want to find out more about Madhuri's work? Check out the world premiere of her new play Dhaba on Devon Avenue at Victory Gardens from March 27-April 26, directed by Chay Yew. Her audio play Evil Eye, directed by our very own Megan Sandberg-Zakian, is available for download on Audible, and about 20,000+ reviewers think you should give it a shot.
Queen at Geva Theatre Center, directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh (2019). Photo by Ron Heerkens Jr. Photography; House of Joy at Cal Shakes, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian (2019). Photo by Kevin Berne. (That's two Maia Directors in one collage!)