Apr 19, 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – April 17, 2019 – UVA Drama MFA Acting Candidate Priyanka Shetty will have the first public performance of her new play #Charlottesville along with her one-woman show The Elephant in the Room on April 23rd at the Gibson Theatre, Live Arts.

#Charlottesville is a documentary-style play about the community’s response to the August 2017 Unite the Right rally. The play is constructed verbatim from interviews with Charlottesville residents who talk about the city in context of the events of August 11th and 12th, 2017 and will be portrayed on stage by a multi-ethnic and cross-generational ensemble of actors.

Playwright and director Shetty says “I started this project because I really wanted to understand why the events of August 11th and 12th 2017 panned out the way they did. Why did this happen in the first place? Why did this happen here? The residents of Charlottesville have been very supportive of my quest to find the answers. They have come forward to share their experiences despite the fact that the subject matter is painful and traumatic.

The second half of the double feature, The Elephant in the Room, is an “unapologetically Indian” and tumultuous ride through seemingly immiscible cultures, love and loss, issues of race and the desperation that comes with not fitting in. The play navigates the author’s transition from her deeply-embedded roots in India to finding context and common ground in America. The Elephant in the Room had its World Premiere in March 2019 in Columbus, OH and is currently on a multi-city tour. The Elephant on the Road Tour kicked off with a performance at Yale University in New Haven on April 7th and will cover Richmond, Washington DC, Columbus, Seattle and other cities over the next few months.

Shetty is currently completing the final year of her Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting at the University of Virginia. The Elephant in the Room and #Charlottesville are the first two plays in a triptych exploring America through different lenses. While The Elephant in the Room highlights the struggles of international students, #Charlottesville explores America through the lens of a small city that caught the world’s attention overnight due to the precipitation of race-related violence. The third play titled The Wall will deal with immigration issues.

This double feature is the first time the first two plays in the triptych will be performed together.

Supported by UVA Arts & the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts and the UVA Department of Drama, #Charlottesville and The Elephant in the Room will be presented on April 23rd at 7:00pm at the Live Arts, Gibson Theatre and on April 27th at 2pm & April 28th at 7pm at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

Tickets are Pay What You Can at Live Arts and $15 at the Jefferson School.

Seating is first come first served.

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This production contains mature language and content.