Made in India explores commercial surrogacy and the colonial relationships between India and the UK
The question of where babies come from is given an economic context in Satinder Chohan's contemporary drama
Set in a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, Made in India follows Tamasha's recent My Name Is… to discuss the problems of the post-colonial world, as Western parents turn to India to provide a commodity that they can't always make for themselves: children.
Writer Satinda Chohan sees her script as part of a conversation: 'I hope audiences might make connections as Western consumers who rely on low-cost, low-paid global workers to provide the material stuff of our lives – whether a pair of trainers or a baby,' she says. 'It's a play that deliberately explores colonial and neoliberal relationships between India and the UK.'
Far from being a simple sociological study, Chohan recognises wider implications. 'Commercial surrogacy is a fitting metaphor,' she reflects. 'In India's service or 'surrogacy' economy, locals are hired to service a global/Western economy: they are even given Western names in call centres, for example. In our 'everything for sale' society, the reproductive technology industry perfectly plays out this highly charged financial markets vs morality debate.'
Tamasha's vision, which brings marginalised voices onto the stage, has always been connected to a polished, precise set of production values: My Name Is… addressed a recent controversy about identity and family ties, and offered a thoughtful, sensitive show that allowed the audience to consider conflicting beliefs without prejudice. They maintain a fine balance between the seriousness of the issue, and the need to entertain.
For Chohan, the importance of theatre as a place for these kinds of story is clear: 'We need serious plays that make us realise we are connected to a bigger world, to let connections and contrasts percolate dramatically, maybe resurface in our lives when and where we might do something about them in our own lives or the lives of others.'
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue 24 Jan–Sat 4 Feb; then touring to Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh, Manchester, Colchester, Lancaster and London.