“The Rishta,” a Play by the Silk Road Institute, Premiers in Montreal
“The Rishta,” a new play by Canadian novelist Uzma Jalaluddin (author of “Ayesha At Last” ), premiered at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal on March 30 and ran for nine days. “The Rishta” is a production by the Silk Road Institute, a Quebec-based Muslim theater company focused on works by Muslim creators. It features Samah (played by actress Eman Ayaz), a college student at McGill who is too meek to directly tell her parents she does not want to be a doctor. Instead, Samah concocts a convoluted plan involving introducing her parents to purposely terrible rishtas, or suitors for marriage, hedging her bets that her parents will decline them all and in the process lighten up enough to let Samah live life on her own terms.
The play includes a performance by veteran actor Ivan Smith (“Afterglow,” “Rollerball”) as Samah’s doting father, Jamal. He is complemented by his wife, Arifa, played by Sehar Manji (who has appeared on NBC’s “Transplant”). The Montreal Rampage’s Rachel Levine said the play’s “.. .best feature is showcasing the concerns and culture of a South East Asian Muslim Canadian-immigrant family in a way that is not heavily dramatic or humourlessly dry.”
Uzma Jalaluddin’s second novel “Hana Khan Carries On” is currently being adapted into a film by Amazon Studios and Mindy Kailing.