Theatre Review: Maya’s Honeymoons by Jesmin Chowdhury

The full version of this review can be seen as published in Bangladesh newspaper New Age (click here) or on my website with additional photos (click here)

Theatre Review: Maya’s Honeymoons – Sunday 20th November, Brady Arts Centre, London

By Ken Powell

Jesmin Chowdhury and Al-Khurshid Himu play central roles (Photo: Murad Chowdhury)

Jesmin Chowdhury and Al-Khurshid Himu play central roles (Photo: Murad Chowdhury)

It is no easy ask to present a play tackling a subject a whole community prefers to remain silent about. In the case of ADDA’s latest production, ‘Maya’s Honeymoons’, the subject is one most communities would rather not talk about; and of course it’s vital that they do.

The writer, Jesmin Chowdhury, has written this story based on years of experience having worked with many women who have suffered abuse of one form or another. She wanted to present not just the reality of domestic violence (DV) but also a message of hope to all women who are living the reality on a daily basis. Jesmin Chowdhury plays the title role allowing her to fully express the depth of emotion she wanted to communicate and the play follows the story of Maya, a Bangladeshi woman married to a British Bangladeshi. He turns from sweet and loving, to controlling, to eventually a violent man who drinks and gambles his way through the years as he beats his wife regularly. The ‘honeymoons’ refer to the cycles of violence and seeming repentance as Maya allows herself to believe her husband truly loves her and so becomes a ‘willing victim’ perpetuating the abuse.

‘Maya’s Honeymoons’ pulls no punches. From the beginning we are presented with a series of fast-moving tableaus representing Maya’s journey from blissful marriage to receiving beatings under the hands of her husband Arman (played by Al-Khurshid Himu). Once the play starts formally Maya accosts the audience verbally so violently – “why won’t you say anything?” she shouts before sneering with a “no, you never say anything, do you?” – that I almost felt I had to say something and apologise for my own guilt. It is a powerful way to begin and left me stunned almost as if I had been violated myself.

Equally as powerful…(continued here)

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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