latest performances...

Jun. 28 '17
Jantar Mantar

In the name of a cow, my cow, you strike a knife through me
In the name of Make in India you make me run, snatch the food from
My mouth, chase me out of my home…..
And one day, in the name of Jai mata you’ll drive, drive, 
drive a tank hard over me?

Swachch Bharat ke naam pe mera safaya kar loge?
Chasme pe likh doge, tho Gandhiji ko Samajhloge?
Paliya Swachchta, Swadeshi, Swaraj, Ram Rajya?

Tum kya jano Ram ka naam?
Tum kya jano Siyaram?
Tum kya jano,
No, you’ll never know
What Jesus died on the cross for
What the Prophet fled his home for
What Budhha’s 8-fold path was
That Ram’s other name
That we greet each other 
every morning
Jai Siyaram Jai Siyaram

That simply writing on Gandhi’s spectacles
Gives you not sight, no vision
Blind Blind
Turning a blind eye is far far away from turning the other cheek

Izzat bachane ke nam pe
Bataoge mujhe kya pehnna hai
Saath kiske rehna hai, Dua kisse mangna hai
Gau raksha ke naam pe roti mere haath se cheen loge?
Chuppi saadh ke muh modloge?

Aur nahi, mere naam pe nahi
Chhoona mat mere chasme kehte hain Gandhi

Yes don’t you dare
Not in my name
But don’t you dare
In the name of Allah, Krishna, Buddha, Jehovah,
Kalburgi, Pehlu Khan, Dhabolkar, Mohd Akhlaq, Pansare….
One last kiss

You hear? Can you hear?
How come not a sound escapes your lips
In the name of making your India

Feb. 20 Muslim cops trashed, forced to carry a saffron flag, chant Jai Bhawani.....
You’ll make me run, snatch the food from my mouth, chase me out of my home, kill my son on a train

For him one last kiss
All he had in his bag were gifts

Not in my name
Mere nam pe nahi
Lelo chashme wapas,
you hear him? Gandhi

Don’t you dare take my name
Not in my name, not in name

when all he did was save his cattle from dying on the streets, 
make shoes, sell her, feed his family, keep them from dying in the streets. 
When all he had in his bag were sweets, gifts for his sister, brother, mother. 
Will you wipe us out clean?

One last….

So its like this….
If I’m a student, whose brother wears a uniform and 
fights for his country you throw fake video tapes in my face 
and tell me, we’ll teach you who a patriot is

If I’m a woman you tell me wear what we tell you, walk when we tell you, marry who we tell you, you asked for it so raped you will be

If I’m a farmer you tell me - jai kisan nahi, jai jawan

If I’m a child you tell me it doesn’t matter, 
you don’t need to know who your first prime minister was, 
I’ll give you fresh spectacles, read what I tell you.

If I’m a nobody you’ll still get after me tell me what to eat, 
who to meet, when to play
hay, I say
not in my name

If I’m a cow you’ll let me die on the street,
Let me bleed, my master bleed
Feeeed, what do you feed on?
breeed, do you only breed…… 

Not in my name
Not in that child’s name

Mere naam mere naam pe nahi, kabhi nahi
Lelo Chashme wapas, hear him? Gandhi

You hear? Can you hear?
How come not a sound escapes their  lips
For him one last kiss
Not in my name…bass
All he had in his bag were gifts
Sab ke saath, sab ka vikas

So, so so I pray,
Oh god, may I be born a goat, not a cow, not  human.
You wont chase me, lynch me, teach me, bleed me

Make me, make India, stand up India
Apr. 21. 7 days after Ambedkar Jayanti, 
a family, a small girl elderly attacked, beaten in J&K

And it goes on….
June 22, 4 days before Eid, Junaid….

June 27, yesterday, Usman Ansari, Deori, Ranchi, thrashed
For a dead cow found outside his houssse

Not in her name, not in mine
Not his, not hers
Don’t you dare
All he had in his bag were gifts
His, hers, yours, theirs

You kill in the name of country

Stand up, Stand up India
Look, there’s Saira
There’s Bilkis, there’s Dhabolkar, Usman Ansari, Pehlu Khan, Pansare....

Yes in his name, in hers, Bilkissss
In his and hers, and ours
Get on a train, a truck, walk into the park,
Fill the streets
You hear….can you hear?
There’s a roar…..shor
Today in my name
A last kiss
They Shall Not Pass

Amsterdam, Oct. 11, 12, 2016

Bonn, Germany, Oct. 20, 2016


Applications for next batch will open end - January, 2017


W A L K 

made in response to the horrific gang rape and tragic death of Jyoti Singh on a moving bus on 
Dec. 16, 2012 


                                           WALK, Jaipur Litt. Festival, Jan. 21, 2013

                                                   More than 15, 000 hits on youtube.....

From Sara Matchett
Senior Lecturer: Drama Department, Univ. of Cape Town , S. Africa
Artistic Director: The Mothertongue Project

Thought I'd try and write down my experience of your performance.... It's hard to articulate what was evoked in me, but I will try as best I can.  It was most definitely not a cognitive experience, but rather a visceral somatic one....

With The Walk, something started to bubble in the pit of my stomach. Slowly it started to rise up through my chest and up to my eyes. This feeling stayed with me, even as I went to sleep. It is still with me, even as I write this now.  I feel very tearful, deeply moved and somewhat internal.
Words  are unable to express this felt sense. It's like you pulled me inside you, into your core. And from this place your call placed itself in me, to continue and extend the call…

I realised, viscerally, how through the performance we have made in South Africa, we carry your legacy. I realised how big the work is. I've always known how important it is, but somehow yesterday I was struck differently. These works in conversation make somatic sense. The resonances are palpable.

Here is a link to a performance we did at The Cape Town Fringe Festival 2014 in a dingy gothic club.  The lighting was very sparse, so the footage looses focus from time to time. Here it is:

From Kaite O'Reilly
Winner of Ted Hughes Award for New Works in Poetry 2011

"The fantastic theatre maker, Kathakali performer, teacher and Theatre in Education practitioner Maya Krishna Rao. 
I am working in Berlin, as a fellow of Freie University’s International Research Centre: Interweaving Performance Cultures. Earlier this week I attended a talk and presentation by Maya Krishna Rao, whose words on process and creativity were illuminating and exhilarating...
Her performance work is improvised, working often alone with a video camera, and music. What sparks her when starting out is the tension between the small and the big. The small might be a tiny event, or a prop or object which is of use; the big is an historical landscape, and it is the tension between these, disparate things coming together, which can surprise and create the initial spark...

As she described this process, I was struck by the way she stayed true to the tasks she had set herself, and trusted both herself and the process, even though she was in the midst of creating it."

posted on Sept. 14, 2012


An unstoppable woman attempts to make her life more meaningful, and yours, vicariously. She is an expert on everything- from food, politics to inner peace. It’s another thing that some themes get a little jumbled in her head, sometimes. But the final score is always philosophical.
The show has episodes – short, sharp, affectionate, sometimes moving glimpses of the urban citizen’s idiosyncrasies and obsessions.
The artist, through characters that change with lightning speed- much like in a Hindi film- takes the audience on a roller coaster ride that goes from the spiritual journey of an NRI jogger to the car- obsessed travails of a culinary expert on television to an incomparable audio visual ‘autobiographical tale’…and more.

dance theatre

There are several strands that have crossed and re-crossed in the making of this piece.  On stage we see an actor  in search of a character, Ravana. Why is she so attracted to him while all the world considers him evil? Is it to do with the performer's  attraction to a form – Kathakali - a form that depicts Ravana in high scale and grandeur?  Every time the actor dips into the ‘world’ of Kathakali she comes out with a further revelation of Ravana…. 
There are so many versions of the story. According to one, Ravana never died, but instead took the form of a bird and made the forest his home. In another version, Sita is actually Ravana’s daughter, but was given away at birth as he was warned that she would be the cause of his death. So, is the Ramayana actually a story of longing -  of a man / father for his lover/daughter. It’s the archetypal story of the lover who is also sibling / parent / child, so familiar in the Greek tradition – Eudipus, Elektra, Jocasta...

Sound design Samar Grewal

Lights Rajesh Singh
Created and performed by Maya Krishna Rao


based on short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Addichie
Sound Design Samar Grewal

This is a solo performance around a theme that holds universal appeal. It’s a non - stop boxing match between a mother and daughter, exciting and moving. The actor switches between both characters. With music to accompany her, she talks, sings, raps. Mrs. Njoku’s daughter, Sochienne, has just returned home to Lagos, having completed her studies in America. She has changed. Living in the west has given her seemingly new values but has also brought her close to her roots, in strange ways. The mother, however is ‘western’ in a post – colonial sort of way and so the stage is set for a clash!

 US tour - residency, performances, talks, workshops in 5 colleges and universities across America, Oct - Nov., 2013