Two suburban Maryland families experience some interesting situations in “Namaste Neighbor!” an original social comedy about intercultural relationships on stage in April at Anne Arundel Community College.
The S.G. Theater Group Inc. will perform “Namaste, Neighbor!” at 8 p.m. Friday, April 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, both at the Pascal Center for Performing Arts on AACC’s Arnold campus, 101 College Parkway.
According to director and playwright Shree Iyengar of Severn, “namaste” is a Sanskrit word that can be interpreted several ways. When someone says “namaste” accompanied by a welcoming gesture, he is greeting another person as an equal in every respect. “Namaste, Neighbor!” tells the story of the clashing cultures of a white American family and an Indo-American family living in the same suburban Maryland neighborhood.
This is the third English play for Iyengar, after “Arranged Marriage” and “The Hope Diamond.” He sees theater as one of his passions and “a powerful medium to express positive thoughts about the society we live in …in an entertaining way.”
Iyengar has a doctorate in chemistry and is director of learning outcomes assessment and professor of chemistry at AACC. According to Iyengar, his training as a scientist and his Indian cultural background allow him to add certain dimensions to his plays. He also makes humor a big part of his productions.
Iyengar formed the S.G. Theater Group Inc., a tax-exempt, nonprofit theater organization, in 1993. Every year, the group produces at least one new play either in English, such as this one, or in Tamil, the language spoken in southern India, Singapore, Sri Lanka and among the Tamil community living in foreign countries. He gets support from a core group of Indo-American friends, including the composer of the music in the play, Srikanth Devarajan of Gaithersburg. The troupe performs the plays in Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The cast of “Namaste Neighbor!” includes Gina Serio of Halethorpe, Stan Behnken of Reistertown, Mathew Thomas of Greenbelt, Latha Kannan of Bethesda, Marjorie Pearsall-Groenwald of Severna Park and Iyengar.
This production is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Foundation Inc. of Anne Arundel County and AACC’s Cultural Events Committee. A portion of the net proceeds will be donated to the Anne Arundel Community College Foundation Inc.
Tickets are available beginning March 7 at the AACC box office, 410-777-2457, and cost $10 general admission, $8 for senior citizens and AACC employees and $5 for AACC students and children ages 6-12. Let the box office know if anyone in your group needs special accommodations.