Tales from The O'Neill: Solid Sand Below & Samsara from the Playwrights Conference

By Sophia Saifi
11 Jul 2013



The audience is treated to moments of intense rationality and scenes where characters delve into the realm of magical realism.

Yee started work on Samsara in 2008 after reading an article about the rise of surrogacy in India. For Yee the system seemed sensible. "It seems like everyone is getting exactly what they want," she said.

However, the instant repulsion that some people had to the idea of surrogacy caught Yee's imagination.

She wanted to explore "the idea that Western people were going into a country that is not their own and implanting themselves into these women who were doing it for the money and were quite poor."

The play is set in the Indian state of Gujarat, which is the hub of surrogacy in the country. Surrogacy was legalized in India in 2002 and since then has made it affordable for infertile middle class couples from developed countries to have babies.

According to Yee, "the play is a whimsical meditation on why people make babies, how the process affects them and how daydreams begin to invade your consciousness."

Directed by Seth Bockley, Samsara's cast was made up of Daiva Deupree, Mike Doyle, Lipica Shah, Bhavesh Patel and Phillip Taratula.

The actors have four and a half days to prepare and rehearse for public readings of each play. 

Actor Andrew Rannells (The Book of Mormon) was present at the O'Neill as a guest and he summed up the environment perfectly, saying, "They are dealing with new versions every day and it's really impressive how they put everything together. It’s pretty nuts."