"The Elephant Is Very Like" cast

The Elephant Is Very Like: A Staged Reading

Thursday, February 15, 2024 at 7:30pm
Theater Department Studio, 275 Washington Terrace, Middletown


Written by Ankita Raturi
Directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar
Produced by Malaika Fernandes ’23

When we speak, whose language are we speaking? What language can we call our own?

Written by Ankita Raturi, the one-act play The Elephant Is Very Like tells the story of a woman who cannot say any words that have not been spoken to her, and a man who tries and fails and tries again to help her. Together, they reach for multilingual poetry, prose, and the South Asian dance forms of kathak and bharatanatyam in their pursuit of a language of her own.

Staged over a week of intensive rehearsals, The Elephant Is Very Like will be brought to life by Wesleyan students in a reading directed by Aneesha Kudtarkar and produced by Malaika Fernandes ’23, in consultation with Assistant Professor of Theater Maria-Christina Oliveras and Professor of Dance, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and Global South Asian Studies Hari Krishnan.

A post-show conversation with some of the artists will follow the performance. 

For the Wesleyan staged reading, the 
Stage Manager is Marcos Arjona '26. The cast features Francisca Wijaya '27, Jack Oshinsky '27, Tanvi Navile '25, Mika Foguel '25, and Nallely Salinas '24. Inesh Vytheswaran '25 will perform on mridangam (double-headed drum), and Vincent Langan '24 will provide stage directions. 

The play has previously been developed at workshops in New York in 2019, and readings in San Diego in 2020. Co-presented by Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, Fries Center for Global Studies, Global South Asian Studies program, and Theater Department.

This reading is being held in conjunction with the Fries Center for Global Studies’ second annual “Power of Language Week,” organized by Global Language and Outreach Fellow Thais García Bagué ’23. An opportunity to celebrate multilingualism and embrace the language community that exists on campus, “Power of Language Week” events are held in celebration of the Bengali Language Movement, International Mother Language Day, and Ekushey February—a worldwide annual observance held on February 21 to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.

This event is also part of “Humanities in Action,” a week of activities highlighting the Humanities at Wesleyan, co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities, the Office of the Dean of Social Sciences, and the Gordon Career Center.

Image: The Elephant Is Very Like cast.