Nishanthi hopes to trigger Chain’ reaction
For her 30th birthday, actress and teacher Nishanthi Bailey plans to raise $30,000 for charity by chaining herself to a radiator and charging admission.
This radical move is part of an initiative she is calling Nishanthi’s $30,000 30th: A Theatrical Theatre Project. She will raising money by performing a one-woman play, ‘Chain’, written by Georgia playwright Pearl Cleage.
“Last year was a pivotal year of reflection as I thought about approaching 30,” she said. “I began to create a bucket list, reflect on my contributions, accomplishments, opportunities that I have benefited from and the experiences I have been exposed to. My final conclusion was that I have been blessed.”
She has been performing locally since the age of four. Her overseas credits include winning the Best Female Actress award in 2007 at the Annual Ruby Awards in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the founding Director and Producer of Bermuda youth theatrical company, Troika. Currently, she is the theatre and drama teacher at Dellwood Middle School, the Deputy Chair on the Bermuda Arts Council and has been a representative on the Teen Services Outstanding Teen Awards Performing Arts Committee for six years.
She decided she wanted to accomplish one of the items on her bucket list — performing a one-woman show, produced and directed by herself. She also wanted to help youth charity Pride Bermuda.
“I am a Pride baby,” she said. “I took part in the programme as a youngster. I was looking for some ways to help the organisation out financially, so I wanted some of the proceeds from ‘Chain’ to go to them.”
But the idea kept evolving. She decided she wouldn’t just raise a small amount of money, she would raise $30,000. She wouldn’t just help Pride, but other charities as well. She wanted everything she did for her 30th birthday to revolve around the numbers 3 and 30.
As part of Nishanthi’s $30,000 30th, she and her brother, local comedian Nadanja Bailey, launched an entertainment scholarship called the Nadanja and Nishanthi Entertainment N3 Scholarship. Through this project, three $3,000 scholarships will be given to students studying the arts at the university level.
Other charities to be helped include the new Coalition of Drama Educators (CODE). A $3,000 gift will go to a CODE festival to be held next year. Also, all registered charities with the number three in their registration numbers, have been entered into a draw. The winning charity will receive a $300 gift.
The plot of ‘Chain’ is based on a true story. In 1992 a Bronx, New York couple decided to chain their drug addicted daughter, 15-year-old Linda Marrero, to the radiator for two months, after all other attempts at rehabilitation had failed. The couple was arrested, but the daughter refused to press charges saying they had only been trying to help. Charges were eventually dropped from unlawful imprisonment to misdemeanour.
“They decided to do this after Linda came home after being missing for a few days, with two men holding her at gunpoint,” said Miss Bailey. “They demanded the parents pay back the $100 she had stolen from them or they would kill her. The mother had had enough so she told her husband to go and buy a chain and a lock and they actually chained her to the radiator at night, for two months.”
But Miss Bailey said the playwright didn’t follow the real story to the letter.
“What I like about Pearl Cleage’s work is that she writes the truth about her characters,” said Miss Bailey. “She has taken a lot of real elements and flipped them up a little bit. She doesn’t candy coat anything. The play is rated M for mature. What I love about this play is that, as an audience member, you will be able to sit there without being judgmental. When we see someone like this in real life very often we automatically judge, but when you come to the theatre you have more of an open mind to experience the story.”
She said she hasn’t done a one woman play in several years. Now she is immersing herself in the script as much as possible to learn 90 minutes of dialogue.
“I have typed out the script,” she said. “I have read it over and over again. I listen to it in the car. If you come to my house you will find me listening to it.”
‘Chain’ will be performed between May 21 and 24 at 7pm at the Daylesford Theatre. Ticket sales are currently open to patrons at $60 and donors at $90 per ticket at www.bermudatix.bm. General admission will open next week at $30 per ticket.
For more information call 535-0013 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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