A Perfect Ganesh opens at The Pico

Sep 25, 2021
A Perfect Ganesh at Pico Playhouse in LA

The pilgrimage tradition is turned on its head when two outwardly unremarkable, middle-aged women throw themselves into a rousing tour of India, each one having her own secret dreams of what the fabled land of intoxicating opposites will do for the suffering she hides within. Margaret, an uptight example of WASP prerogative, has just discovered a lump in her breast but hasn't told her friend. More adventurous Katharine seeks a respite from the haunting of her son, Walter, and even thinks of kissing the leprous hordes of Bombay to atone for the way she rejected him and maybe, she thinks, contributed to the gay-bashing in which he died. Faced with the women's despair, who but Ganesh, the Hindu god with an elephant's head, could intervene? Fluid in his power to assume any guise, at peace with all things, Ganesh is the spiritual center around which the play spins itself, drawing upon the tragic and the comic, the beautiful and the deplorable. Can Ganesh bring relief to the pain abiding within each of the women's hearts?

The action of A Perfect Ganesh spans from America to India, as the narrative explores the nature of female friendships, culture clashes, racism, homophobia, trauma and loss, and our collective search for wholeness and authenticity in a chaotic world.

Terrence McNally (1939-2020) is the playwright. One of the most commercially and critically successful playwrights, screenwriters and librettists of the past fifty years, he is the recipient of five Tony Awards (for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Master Class, Ragtime, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Lifetime Achievement) and an Emmy (for Andre's Mother). He died last year from complications of Covid-19. A Perfect Ganesh was originally produced in 1993. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

David W. Callander directs. He received his undergraduate degree in theatre from Pomona College. It was there that he first formed Campus Cabaret, a company which produced over a dozen plays and musicals in three years. After graduating, he moved to New York where he became a stage manager on Broadway (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Orpheus Descending with Vanessa Redgrave, and Legs Diamond starring Peter Allen). As a young man trying to find his way in the world during the last pandemic, he decided to go to medical school, and he graduated from the State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn (Downstate). He completed his training in psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, CA. David served on the faculty at Olive View UCLA Medical Center as well as at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center before opening his private practice. In 2014, David returned to the theatre as an actor. He was most recently seen as Daddy Warbucks in Annie at Glendale Centre Theatre. Other credits include: Legally Blonde; Hello, Again; Hairspray; Little Shop of Horrors; Urinetown; Mame; and Putting It Together. David has also performed at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and the St. Louis Cabaret Conference. A Perfect Ganesh is the first production from the return of Campus Cabaret.

The cast of this new production of A Perfect Ganesh includes Mueen Jahan, Kathleen Gray, Mary Allwright, Cameron Gregg, Judd Yort, Sean Delaney, Pavia Sidhu, Svetlana Tulasi and Delio Eswar.

Whether you're already a fan of playwright Terrence McNally (once again a Tony nominee this year for the Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune) or being newly introduced to his work, A Perfect Ganesh is a perfect opportunity to appreciate a master of his craft.