THE CAST: Pia Shah, Anjali Bhimani and Karthik Srinivasan.
Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Orange is the story of Leela—a teen from India who is on the autism spectrum; she draws about life in a journal book. She travels to Orange County, Calif., for a family wedding, but is spirited away for a one-night adventure by her cousin. It’s a wild ride, but a journey of discovery for everyone. Two of the cast members were in the reading of Orange at the 2015 Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF).
Name: Anjali Bhimani
Orange Role(s): Cousin Priti and all the other female characters.
Hometown: Tustin, Calif. “Yup, I ACTUALLY grew up in Orange County, just like Priti (Leela’s cousin)!”
Credits include: Bombay Dreams (Broadway); “Modern Family.”
Last time at SCR: Read the role of Priti at the 2015 PPF.
“I knew I wanted to be an actor when…” Hmmm, I don’t think there was a specific moment, but I do remember seeing a production of Kismet in Fullerton and thinking “Ooooh, people actually do this for a LIVING?” Also, the fact that the female lead was a fellow brown girl AND a soprano made me feel like there was a chance I could actually do this for a living.
Recently binge-watched: “The Night Of.” So,so,so, so good…the storytelling was so intense, and even just the first episode felt like an entire movie…
Fruit preferred with breakfast. Grapefruit or blueberries.
Observation about Orange County: I love working across from South Coast Plaza because it reminds me of so much of my childhood. Every time I turn right to go to SCR, I want to go left and go inside the mall and go to the carousel.
"I’m drawn to the story in Orange because…” so much of it is like my life growing up here. The character of Priti is very different from who I was, but at the same time, I really identify with her. And the relationship between Leela and her mother is so beautiful.
Memorable teen adventure: Oh heck no…I am not sharing that one. My mom is coming to see this show.
Advice teenaged self: Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you…or rather, recognize that the harshest criticism and judgment is in your own head.
Name: Pia Shah
Orange Role: Leela.
Hometown: Born in Chatham, N.J. and moved to Bombay at age 5. Moved back to New Jersey at age 10; back to Bombay at age 13; and returned to New Jersey at age 15. “Dizzy yet?!”
Credits include: Noms de Guerre (Pasadena Playhouse); “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Last time at SCR: Read the role of Leela at the 2015 Pacific Playwrights Festival.
“I knew I wanted to be an actor... until after I graduated college. I thought I would be a human rights lawyer and almost went to law school!
First play seen: I think it might have been a touring show of Evita in Bombay.
Recently binge-watched: “Search Party”—I loved it!
Fruit preferred with breakfast: I have to say orange, right?! Actually, I'll say blueberries.
Observation about Orange County: I'm struck by the amazing and dedicated audiences I've seen come to see the current shows at SCR. When I pop out of rehearsal for a break and see the crowds rushing to make their shows, the energy reminds me of New York City. But we're in Orange County, so it's pretty special.
“I’m drawn to the story in Orange because…” of how freeing it is to accept yourself and be who you are—even if it's painful and you're sometimes misunderstood.
Memorable teen adventure: I once drove from Baltimore to NYC and back in the same night to see a band. And then went to class in the morning!
Advice to teenaged self: Work hard. Know your worth. Remember that boys are dumb. Let go of anything that isn't serving your best interest." That can be hard to know when you're a kid though!
Name: Karthik Srinivasan
Orange Role(s): Gar (Priti’s boyfriend) and all the other male characters.
Hometown: Born and raised in New Dehli, India; moved to Springfield, Va., at age 13.
Credits include: “Shameless” and “Bold and the Beautiful.”
“I knew I wanted to be an actor…” While pursuing my degree in electrical engineering, I took Intro to Acting as an elective to graduate. My final scene for class was True West, where I got to portray Lee dictating his story to Austin. The out-of-body experience I had during that performance was enough of a defining moment for me to know that I had something I needed to tap into.
First play seen: In the U.S., I saw our high school's production of Guys & Dolls and thought "you'll never catch me on stage doing that.”
Recently binge-watched: “Stranger Things”
Fruit preferred with breakfast: Practical answer: whichever fruit my son doesn't finish for breakfast, really. Ideal answer: bananas!
Observation about Orange County: The number of people who immerse themselves in the vibrancy of the numerous arts programs that OC offers.
“I’m drawn to the story in Orange because…” of its universality and the message of love and acceptance no matter who we are and where we come from, is in every fiber of its words. This work is a testament to the fact that heroes don't need to wear capes. Sometimes they just need to be there for those who need them.
Memorable teen adventure: Moving to the U.S. was a pretty huge adventure in itself. If ever there's an age to not leave your house, family and friends behind in a country 12,000 miles away, it's 13.
Advice to teenaged self: This too, shall pass.
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