Meet Anish Jethmalani

October 19, 2017

Long time Chicago actor Anish Jethmalani has been recently named an Associate Artist for TimeLine Theatre, where he acts in "In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play". The Chicago premiere of this “insightful, fresh and funny” (The New York Times) play by Sarah Ruhl, is directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe. Sarah Ruhl— a Chicago native and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Tony Award nominee, and 2006 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship—has written a story of awakening, equality, and the need for connection that offers a “rare and savvy premise that manages to be titillating and amusing” (Chicago Tribune). "In The Next Room, Or The Vibrator Play" runs October 26-December 16, 2017. Tickets can be purchased here. Please note that this play takes place at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue.

What's your personal story?

I’ve been part of the Chicago Theatre Community for over 20 years and am proud to call Chicago my home.  I’ve been very fortunate enough to work at several wonderful theatres around town including The Goodman, Court, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass, Writers, Chicago Shakespeare and of course Timeline, where I was just recently named a new Artistic Associate.  I come from an artistic family where I’ve had several members of my family participate in the performing arts in one way or another.  I’m a big sports fan, love to travel and enjoy really good food, so Chicago is the ideal place to be for that.

What's your character's story in "In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play”?

I play the character of Dr. Givings in “In The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.”  He is a doctor who in 1880s America, specializes in the treatment of “Hysteria” in women.  He is extremely passionate about his work and is enthusiastic about the inventions and the discoveries he makes in the world of science. He tends to be very practical about all things including his relationship with his wife, Catherine.   I would say his story is not only about discovering the potential of his inventions and what they can do for the treatment of his patients, but also the discovery of the love within his relationship with his wife and the possibilities that brings forth to bring them closer together.

What challenges does your character face telling this story?

I believe the challenges my character faces are finding that balance between work life and family life, an issue that is universal to most people.  But also facing the challenges of a new child in the family and what that does to the relationship between a husband and wife, specifically how are they able to meet the demands of caring for a new child, but also not letting their own relationship lose passion as a result.

How does the character overcome those challenges?

Without giving way too much away, there are a series of comical hurdles and misunderstandings that all of the characters go through to find that love within themselves and each other.  I think the audience will have a fun time making those discoveries with the characters as they venture through the story and will definitely leave them with much to talk about afterwards.  

Any other comments?

I’m very proud of the influence The Chicago Inclusion Project has had in bringing this production to life and grateful that Timeline has chosen to produce it.  For me, the best type of theatre is seeing faces on and behind the stage that reflect the world at large. I think the audience will really have great fun watching this show.  I hope you will come see it!

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Mia Park
Mia Park shares her passion of discovery through teaching yoga and acting. Currently studying acupuncture and Chinese medicine, Mia is also a producer, writer, motivator, and celebrator of life. Mia has lived in Chicago for over twenty years and calls this city that works her home.

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Meet Harmony Zhang
DePaul student Harmony Zhang ​acts in The House of Bernarda Alba​​ by Federico García Lorca, directed by Jeremy Aluma​. ​Lorca’s final play set in the provincial Andalusia, Spain, ignites with the funeral service of Bernarda Alba’s second husband. Ever determined that her five grown daughters maintain a house of honor, Bernarda declares they will have an eight-year mourning period of absolute seclusion. When the eldest daughter receives a large inheritance, potentially sweeping her away from this fate and into an engagement with a handsome bachelor, conflict brews among the sisters repressed by Bernarda’s rule. Set in a time of tumultuous political climate, this story explores the underbelly of what happens when a tyrant seizes power. The House of Bernarda Alba runs Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 PM November 7, through November 12, 2017. Free tickets can be reserved on October 27, 2017 at noon at the box office, by calling 773-325-7900, or emailing Press Opening is Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7:30 PM. **Preview is Tuesday, November 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The House of Bernarda Alba will be performed in Room 403 of The Theatre School at DePaul University at 2350 N Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 What's your personal story? I grew up in Tucson, Arizona as one of very few Chinese Americans in my neighborhood. I remember that my sister and I were the only Chinese kids in my whole elementary school. However, my family attended a Chinese church in downtown Tucson, and I also attended Tucson Chinese School where I learned to read and write Mandarin Chinese. I’m very thankful for the persistence that my parents had to have my sister and me grow up learning Chinese and holding on to our ethnic culture. However, growing up, I felt like I was never fully Chinese nor fully American. I didn’t feel the need to blend in with the other kids, but I also desired to connect better with others. An opportunity came up in kindergarten when the entire grade put on a show for the whole school. This was the first time that I felt like I was part of a team, part of a larger group effort to create something fun and beautiful. I remember that year, our production was called ‘To the Future and Beyond,’ and I sang the final solo of the show. In middle school and high school, I continued to take drama classes whenever possible. I loved learning about the lives of people so different from me, memorizing my lines, and sharing those stories with audiences. In college at Duke University, I decided to major in Psychology and Theater Studies, and also performed in three of the Theater Department’s Mainstage shows. Currently, I’m in my second year of my MFA in Acting program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. What's your character's story in "The House of Bernarda Alba”? My character’s name is Angustias, which means anguish or distress. She is the eldest unmarried daughter of Bernarda Alba and is already 39. Angustias is the sole daughter of Bernarda Alba’s former husband, while the rest of her sisters are the daughters of Antonio Maria Benavides, the man they are all mourning at the top of the show. Angustias’ father was rich, so when Antonio Maria Benavides dies and the property must be divided, Angustias’ share of the estate is much larger than that of her sisters. This wealth that Angustias has is then attractive to Pepe, who is trying to marry her, and while Angustias truly believes that he loves her for her, she really just wants to be loved and free from the oppression and alienation she feels within the walls of Bernarda’s house. What challenges does your character face telling this story? Angustias is constantly struggling with the antagonistic energy she receives from her sisters. No matter what she does, her sisters find some way to make her feel even more alienated and separate from the group. No one really gives her a chance to share more about herself. Angustias is always defending herself, but somehow it always comes off as offensive towards her sisters. She doesn’t feel understood. She wants her mother’s approval, but also doesn’t feel fully understood by her either. Angustias has a hard time in this story, because she doesn’t feel like anyone is on her side. How does the character overcome those challenges? Angustias changes throughout the play—I won’t give away too much, but in some ways, Angustias is redeemed from all of her bitterness at the end of the play when her sisters discover how they have wronged her. While Angustias behaved more out of spite at the top of the show, she begins to genuinely ask for help, advice, and empathy at the end of the play. Angustias overcomes her challenges of alienation towards the end of the play when she risks being judged by her mother and sisters by being more vulnerable, and seeking to find the truth, even if she gets hurt in the end. Any other comments? I hope that this play helps audience members to be thankful for the people in life who love them, to hold them close, and to try to understand each other instead of being blinded by individual desires. Why not work together? Why not be a team and create something beautiful? Life is too short not to make the most of it every day. Thank you so much for your time!
Mia Park