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Crass, butch and hilarious: Kalyani Pandya parades herself on stage + ticket giveaway

By Jean McLernon on May 14, 2014

Growing up is never easy for anyone, and especially difficult for anyone wanting to stray the path of their traditional family upbringing. Kalyani Pandya gives a heart wrenching and often hilarious view into the struggles she felt coming out as a gay woman in Winnipeg with her performance The Arrangement, the Marriage, and Me. Her story is told through the eyes of two women; Anila, entering an arranged marriage in Delhi and Kamal, a woman coming out as gay to her traditional family in Winnipeg. Even with both women countries apart, their stories and experiences are connected in more ways than they imagined.

To demonstrate the struggles she went through, Pandya shares quotes from her childhood to drive home the harshness of her family’s reaction to her as a whole. She remembers hearing “I wanted her to be a doctor, or if she was a total lost cause, a dentist. I didn’t come to this country so she could parade herself on stage like a prostitute or worse, a politician.” Career aspirations aside, she often heard denial of her biology with things like: “I heard there’s a chance she’s adopted, so there’s still hope for us.” Pandya tells a true survivor story, and is able to find the humor in the experiences she had through her growing pains.

Anyone expecting to come to an uncomfortable performance about gender identification and traditional values may want to stay home. This performance looks on the lighter side of both, and while it has its touching moments, the majority of it is of comedic nature. Pandya herself is a comedian, and is described as crass, butch and hilarious, which will lend well to the touching content of her story.

“She pulls it off. Kalyani herself has made it.” Ottawa Storytellers says of her Speaking Out/ Speaking In performance, “Her performance is a testimony to the success of the way she lived her life.”

We have two tickets to giveaway for this show. To enter send us an email with “Speaking Out” in the subject header to A random draw will be made on Thursday May 15th at noon.

The Arrangement, The Marriage and Me is performed on the Fourth Stage of the National Arts Centre this Thursday, May 15th at 7:30pm, doors at 7. Tickets are $20 at the NAC box office, or here for $17 in advance.