In Treya’s Last Dance, actress/playwright Shyam Bhatt delivers with boundless energy a one-woman show that is filled with joy, angst, laughs and sadness—the whole gamut of human experience as rendered in the story of one human being. Treya is a young, native-born Londoner of Indian extraction. She is smart, glib, and bubbling with energy, as she tells the story of her life as a brown girl who deals with her immigrant parents’ and relatives’ expectations that she will find the “life partner” every girl deserves, as well as all the other aspects of the struggle to just fit in.
At lights up, Treya comes on garbed in traditional dress, with ankle bells chiming, and delivers a delightful performance of traditional Indian dance. Her performance is awesomely precise until a misstep occurs that won’t allow her to get back into the rhythm. She stops and flees the stage exiting past the audience running towards the street. In a miracle of quick-change magic, she returns from the back of the stage a scant minute later garbed in black pants and a white top. With a dense Cockney accent that would do Eliza Doolittle proud, Treya begins the story of her life, loves, and struggles with great humor and searing pathos. The performance is riveting from beginning to end.
The actor/playwright has written in a cunning way to deal with the difficult chore of finding love. Treya attends a speed-dating event, where men and women sit and chat with prospective date partners for a short period of time. She pours her heart out to men who are dull, rude and loathsome. What she reveals is often hilarious, sometimes sad. She often breaks away from the event to deepen the tale of her family and, especially, that of her brother.
Treya’s Last Dance, under the sure-handed direction of Poonam Basu, benefits from the excellent creative team with music composed by Archita Kumar, lighting and sound by Steve Pope, voiceovers/vocals by Arun Kamath. Jana Dimitrievska is the production assistant.
This theatergoer fell in love with Shyam Bhatt at first sight. It is a privilege to have been able to spend time with her.
Outlandish Cat Productions’ Treya’s Last Dance runs through October 23. See it while you can at Hudson Guild Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles.