Remy Bumppo and Silk Road Rising are pleased to announce that we are joining artistic forces to bring the American premiere of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, adapted by Tanika Gupta, to Chicago. This bold re-imagining, set in 19th century Calcutta during the British Raj, will be co-directed by Lavina Jadhwani and Nick Sandys.
“This new version transports Dickens’ narrative with a specificity and theatricality that is truly exciting—and yet 90% of the dialogue comes directly from the novel,” comments Remy Bumppo Producing Artistic Director Nick Sandys.
“Gupta has adapted this classic with absolute valour and aplomb,” agrees Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury. “This is not an attempt to superimpose or meld cultural contexts. Rather, it’s a telling of the Dickens’ story that brilliantly reimagines and recenters it—all while honoring the genius of the 19th century narrative.”
It’s this skillful blend of a Western literary classic with a fresh Bengali perspective that inspired the companies to pursue Great Expectations as a co-production.
“As Gupta has collaborated so seamlessly with Dickens,” says Sandys, “so we hope Silk Road Rising’s inclusive polyculturalism and experience with South Asian theatrical traditions will combine successfully with Remy Bumppo’s skills with classical language and Western theatrical styles and texts.”
Says Khoury, “Remy Bumppo brings to the table its rich commitment to the Western literary canon, while we bring our rootedness in the artistic voices of Asian and Middle Eastern Diasporas. The two blend beautifully into Gupta’s Great Expectations: a tale not of ‘East meets West,’ but of binaries and barriers being broken down.”