The Husbands writer Sharmila Chauhan

Photos Robert Day & Robert Workman &

February/March 2014
The Husbands
By Sharmila Chauhan

This powerful, questioning new play explored love, jealousy and a woman’s right to choose.

It’s Aya’s wedding day. Her third. Her current two husbands aren’t too fussed. In a society in which there are few women, that’s just what happens. But as the household prepares for the wedding feast, a stranger arrives – one who threatens to challenge everything they believe in.

Against a backdrop of modern rural India, Sharmila Chauhan wove an extraordinary tale of love and wonder in an exuberant and challenging piece of theatre.

‘Janet Steel’s simple, effective staging, is bathed in warm colours and heady smells.... arrestingly unique.‘      Time Out

'Chauhan slowly builds a gripping four-hander that asks provocative questions about duty, freedom, leadership and whether motherhood leads inevitably to female subjugation.'

‘Stunning set, mindful and evocative of the rich culture it is portraying, The Husbands brims with knotty questions and boldly explores ingrained gender narratives.... a well told story that will stay with you long after the play has finished...'
The Public Reviews

Janet Steel tightly directs The Husbands… an interesting concept engagingly executed… cleverly calling into question many orthodox beliefs …nothing if not thought-provoking'

'Another challenging and thought provoking work from Kali Theatre'

Syreeta Kumar is fantastic! She is convincing, attentive, sexy, strong, and believable. You will change your view of her many times during the play and by the end you can’t tell whether you like/dislike or agree/disagree with this strong visionary Leicester Online magazine

'This is a play that challenges its audiences and isn’t afraid of tackling bigger issues about the role of women’s lives and equality... it leaves its audience with much to think about'

Toured to
Plymouth Drum 12-15 February 
Birmingham mac 22 February   
Leicester Curve 25 February -1 March
Shrewsbury  Theatresevern 4 March 
Wolverhampton Arena 5 March  
Tewkesbury  Roses Theatre 6 March   
Ludlow Assembly Rooms 7 March   
London Soho Theatre   11-23 March 
BSL Signed Performance 19 March

‘In parts of India, polyandry has become a necessity. Gendercide, as a consequence of the ancient preference for boys, the modern desire for smaller families and the increasing availability of ultrasound techniques to detect the gender of a baby still in the womb means that the number of females is declining. I wrote The Husbands both as a response to this but also as an exploration of the complexity of love, intimacy and trust between one woman and three men where gender differences and expectations are amplified. In a sense this play is as much a warning as an allegory for the fate of women in The West today.’                           
Sharmila Chauhan

With Phillip Edgerley, Syreeta Kumar,
Rhik Samadder
and Mark Theodore
Directed by Janet Steel
Creative Advisor Elizabeth Freestone
Set & Costume Design by Jean Chan
Lighting Design by Prema Mehta
Music by Arun Ghosh

The Husbands was a co-production with Pentabus.

            ‘The excellent Pentabus’  The Guardian