South Asian Theatre with Universal Appeal

The Sitayana (or, How to Make an Exit)

Virtual – September 2021

Produced and Presented by: EnActe Arts, East West Players, and Hypokrit Productions

Written By: Lavina Jadhwani

Director: Reena Dutt

Dramaturg: Amrita Ramanan

Director of Photography: Lisa Tom

Production Designer: Kristen Flores

Costume Designer: Ashpord Jacoway

Set Designer: Sharath Patel

Stage Manager: Brandon Cheng

Video Editor/Graphic Effects and Titles Artist: Nancy Chou

Illustrator: Aki Ruiz

Cast: Suhel Banerjee, Tavish Bhattacharyya, Anup Jacob Brochu, Mandar Gokhale, GV Gopalakrishnan, Aseem Hattagady, Anuja Kale, Muktak Kanjilal,  Rajit Kapur, Sivakumar Krishnan, Vivek Madan, Devika Shahani

The Ramayana, told in a new light: The Sitayana maps Sita’s journey from a naïve 16-year-old excitedly awaiting her groom to a mature, loyal wife who follows her husband into exile. The playwright paints a contemporary portrait of the legendary queen and showcases not just one but three distinct incarnations of Sita. Each version breaks all traditional gender stereotypes associated with women, both in epic tales and in life, and leads the story to a bold conclusion where all three Sitas say, “I’m done,” and make the ultimate exit, making Sita worthy of being the hero of her own tale, The Sitayana.

San Francisco’s EnActe Arts, in partnership with EWP, and New York City’s Hypokrit Productions, presents the world premiere of Lavina Jadhwani’s The Sitayana, an artful transposition of the Hindu epic The Ramayana told from Sita’s point of view. Part epic tale, part coming of age story, The Sitayana is the ultimate breakup play. Audiences will be able to choose between three different incarnations of Sita from whom to hear their stories which along the way upend traditional gender norms and subvert idealized views of femininity. The Sitayana is directed by Reena Dutt, and is premiering in May.

Sitayana Cast & Crew

Written by: Lavina Jadhwani

Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director, adaptor, and advocate. Lavina’s directing credits include work at Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Phoenix Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, Writers Theatre, and Rasaka Theatre Company. Lavina maintains relationships with Silk Road Rising, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and the National New Play Network. Time Out Chicago named her their “Best Next Generation Stage Director” in 2013. Lavina loves language-driven plays, both new and old, from Eastern and Western canons. Her adaptations include The Sitayana, Vanya, and Shakuntala: An East Meets West Love Story (an a cappella musical, adapted from Kalidasa)


Lavina is a proud graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University (MFA, Directing), Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. 

Directed by: Reena Dutt

Reena Dutt is a crossover director working in both theatre and film. Los Angeles: “The Sitayana (Or how to make an exit)” (East West Players, 2021), “This is Not a True Story” (Artists at Play, TBA 2022), “Antigone, Presented by the Girls of St. Catherine’s” (Sacred Fools), “Defenders” (Pandelia’s Yellow Canary Company | Theatre Planners), “Rise & Shine: I thought I was white” (Bad Hindu Productions), “Katy and Jennifer” (Fierce Backbone). Associate/Assistant Directing: “Hannah and the Dread Gazebo” (Fountain Theatre dir. Jennifer Chang), “The Untranslatable Secrets of Nikki Corona” (The Geffen Playhouse dir. Jo Bonney), “The Limitations of Genetic Technology” (Off-Chance Productions dir. David Watkins Jr.). 2021-2022 Drama League NY Directing Fellow, 2018 and 2017 Producers Encore Award (“Katy and Jennifer”, and “Waitless”). Dutt is also a producer having screened her films at Sundance, LAFF, Outfest, Frameline, Cucalorous, NBCUniversal, BET, PBS/Latino and HBO. Website:

Meet the Cast

Sheetal Gandhi

Sheetal Gandhi is a National Dance Performance (NDP) and MAP Fund award-winning director/choreographer, professional actor, performer and educator. Sheetal’s career has spanned genres and disciplines including work as a creator and performer in Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion, playing a leading role in the Broadway production of Bombay Dreams and more.  She received a 2012-13 NDP Touring Award for her one-woman show Bahu-Beti-Biwi, and her work has toured to over 16 cities in the U.S. performing in theaters and festivals such as REDCAT, Harlem Stage, The Yard, Painted Bride Arts Center, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Bryn Mawr College, ODC, Raymond Kabbaz Theatre, Florida Dance Festival, National Asian American Theater Festival, 24th Street Theater. 


Sheetal has an MFA in Dance/Choreography from UCLA and teaches dance and theater classes at universities and colleges around greater Los Angeles.  Sheetal is owner of The Well: Pilates, Movement and Wellness and a founding member of The Dancing Storytellers – a group of artists that enlighten and entertain young audiences with stories rooted in South Asian culture.

Minita Gandhi

Minita Gandhi is a LA based writer/actor/healer/activist born in Mumbai, India. Her critically acclaimed solo-show Muthaland, was Jeff-nominated for best New Work and best Solo Performance.  Regional Theater: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Florida Studio Theater. TV includes Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Onion News Network (Nina Shankar), Brown Girls. She voices Shuma Mukherjee and others on Disney’s Mickey’s Mixed-Up Adventures. Gandhi is the National Program Director at AGE (Advance Gender Equity in the Arts), connecting women and non-binary emerging artists of color with BIPOC National Theater Leaders. 


As an activist and speaker, Minita was the keynote speaker for Commit2Change, Imagine Talks, and KCACTF. She teaches workshops on Artivism, does work to support survivors, and is the Founder/CEO of Instagram/Twitter: @minitagandhi 

Nikita Chaudhry

Nikita Chaudhry (she/her) is an artist, activist, and educator currently based in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, her work has expanded internationally from stage to screen.


A graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts Drama program with a minor in Performance Studies and honors certificate in Theatre Studies, Nikita is most passionate about projects that uplift underrepresented narratives, while collaborating with community organizations and campaigns. She can most recently be seen on ABC’s Station 19 and recurring in sketches on NBC’s A Little Late with Lilly Singh. More at @nikita.chaudhry

The Creative Team:

Reena Dutt – Director

Amrita Ramanan – Dramaturg

Lisa Tom – Director of Photography

Kristen Flores – Production Designer

Nancy Chou – Video Editor/Graphic Effects and Titles Artist

Ashphord Jacoway – Costume Designer

Sharath Patel – Sound Designer

Aki Ruiz – Illustrator

Neha Assar – Mehndi Artist

Brandon Cheng – Stage Manager


Nikita Chaudhry as Sita (Sita’s Slumber Party)

Sheetal Gandhi as Sita (Sita’s Mehndi Party)

Minita Gandhi as Sita (Amar Chitra Sita)