Sock ‘em With Honey
Adapted from An American Brat, the novel
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Janet Steel
The play Sock’em with Honey is an adaptation of An American Brat by the internationally recognized writer, Bapsi Sidhwa, and was produced in London by the Kali Theater in 2003. It played in Leister Haymarket and in London in 2003.
The play explores the tensions that arise in a Parsi family when their daughter Feroza leaves Pakistan to attend college in the United States. Now she’s fallen in love with an American — and he’s Jewish. Suddenly Feroza’s family is getting more than they bargained for, including a lesbian roommate and a domineering Jewish grandmother. The resulting clash is a humorous, touching, insightful look at the common threads of family life.
Director: Janet Steel
Designer: Penny White
Music: Sayan Kent
Cast: Sumitra Bhagat, Gareth Clarke, Phillippa Downs, Norma Dixit, Rohit Gokani, Well-known Indian actress, Kitu Gidwani, from the award wining films, Earth and Dance of the Wind, comes from Bombay to play Feroza's mother.
Feroza, a social anthropology student at SOAS, loves David, a computer whiz at Imperial College. Nothing could be simpler – except that she is from a traditional Parsee family in Pakistan and David is Jewish. When she writes home to announce that she wants to marry a ‘non’, her grandmother faints – in truth, she’s always fainting – and the Zoroastrian community threatens to cast her out. To save her daughter, Feroza’s mother, Zareen, flies to London to stop the marriage by any means possible – whether by peppery maternal condescension or by ‘socking’em with honey’.
–Cockpit Theater Fringe
Bapsi Sidhwa’s semi-autobiographical mixed-marriage drama could easily be mistaken for a typical comedy of inter-cultural misunderstanding and reconciliation. It does the usual things – it pokes a little good-natured (and genuinely amusing) fun at both the conservatism of Parsee life in Pakistan and the freewheeling chaos of student existence in London, then shows Zareen, after a chilly start, gradually warming to David’s boyish charms. A happy ending soon appears to be in sight. Then something unexpected happens: the play abandons the compliant conventions of traditional comedy writing and reverts to steelier laws of real life. The confrontation scenes in the second half of the play crackle with the terrible force of the speakers’ irreconcilable differences.
Janet Steel’s neatly designed production is well served by a series of excellent performances. Kitu Gidwani is outstanding as wavering matriarch Zareen, making the transition from sari to hotpants and back again with admirable ease.
–Robert Shore, Time Out – London April 2003