UCSD grad to direct Old Globe's 'Rafta, Rafta'

Jonathan Silverstein
Jonathan Silverstein

By Diana Saenger

Ten years ago Jonathan Silverstein left UCSD with a MFA in directing and headed to New York where his career as a director has been nearly nonstop. Silverstein is back in San Diego to direct the West Coast premiere of “Rafta, Rafta” beginning preview performances at the Old Globe Theatre on March 19.

The Olivier Award-winning comedy by playwright Ayub Khan-Din is based on “All in Good Time” by Bill Naughton, and is rife with laughs. It’s the story of a young Indian couple in England who get married and then move in with the bride’s family.

“It’s a beautiful story about the complexities of family life and relationships — be they newly married ones or older married relationships or even friendships,” Silverstein said. “Many of the plays I’ve done might be comedies, but they also have a truthful emotional side to them, and this play has both of those things.

“In the center of the story is a very complicated relationship between father and son. Although we are introduced to the problems of the bride and groom, as the play unfolds, we find out that both sets of parents have their own difficulties.”

Silverstein helmed the Off Broadway world premiere of “The Temperamentals,” “The Dining Room,” “Tea and Sympathy,” “I Never Sang for My Father,” and “The Hasty Heart,” among others, and serves as Resident Director for the Keen Company. He does a lot of plays centered on families and that’s what enticed him to direct “Rafta, Rafta.”

The cast includes Shalin Agarwal, Geeta Citygirl Chopra, Amir Darvish, Nasser Faris, Ariya Ghahramani, Mahira Kakkar, Caralyn Kozlowski, Gita Reddy and Rachid Sabitri.

(The Union-Tribune reported on March 17 that Ranjit Chowdhry, who was set for the role of the bride's father, will be replaced by Kamal Marayati. The newspaper reported Chowdry left "due to illness.")

Casting calls went out in San Diego, Los Angeles and New York. Chowdhry and Sabitri (the son), have appeared in a prior production of “Rafta, Rafta.”

Silverstein added a prologue and epilogue to the script.

“There will be some dancing, and there’s a wedding that starts the play with a 45-page scene, full cast, in the living room, so it begins with a bang,” Silverstein said.

“And there’s a Bollywood number that ends the play – like the ‘Jai Ho’ dance in ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’

“ ‘Rafta, Rafta,’ has a lot of everything – comedy, music, surprises and heart.”

   
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