Tanuja Devi Jagernauth

Tanuja Devi Jagernauth

Tanuja is an Indo-Caribbean playwright and dramaturg who believes in the necessity of creation during times of destruction. In 2016, she shifted career paths from Traditional East Asian Medicine to theatre in hopes of practicing four frameworks for collective liberation and wellness: self/community care, harm reduction, trauma-informed practice, and body positivity.

Tanuja is currently honored to...
Tanuja is an Indo-Caribbean playwright and dramaturg who believes in the necessity of creation during times of destruction. In 2016, she shifted career paths from Traditional East Asian Medicine to theatre in hopes of practicing four frameworks for collective liberation and wellness: self/community care, harm reduction, trauma-informed practice, and body positivity.

Tanuja is currently honored to be devising a musical adaptation of FAUST with Olivia Lilley (Director), Vero Maynez (Assistant Director), Sofia Fey (Dramaturg), Alec Phan (Composer), and a wickedly talented ensemble.

Tanuja was honored to have her play, HOW TO PICK A LOCK, presented at RhinoFest 2019 in Chicago. Her play, FIRST DATA GOLD, was presented as part of Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings at Steppenwolf Theatre. Her short play, BATTLEGROUND, was recently part of Revolutionary Acts, the 6th National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival, and her short play, SKIN, was recently part of the Our Perspective: Asian American Play Readings at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. It has been workshopped and produced by The Pulp Stage in Portland, OR.

Dramaturgy credits include LITTLE WOMEN, adapted by Heather Chrisler; Olivia Lilley's DIARY OF AN EROTIC LIFE, an adaptation of the Frank Wedekind LULU plays; Kristin Idaszak's STRANGE HEART BEATING; Olivia Lilley's NEVERLAND; Pegasus Theatre's production of ECLIPSED, Sideshow’s Freshness Initiative workshop and staged reading of PRO-AM by Brynne Frauenhoffer, Stage Left's production of Robert Schenkkan's BUILDING THE WALL, Pegasus Theatre's production of THE GREEN BOOK by Calvin A. Ramsey, and Cloudgate Theatre's production of ANOTHER JUNGLE by Kristin Idaszak.

Plays

  • HOW TO PICK A LOCK
    The year is 2030. The entire Chicagoland area is heavily militarized. All city services are privatized and owned by Ama-Drone, a company that brings together the best of Amazon and military drone technology.

    Only the richest 1% have easy access to the internet, food, clothing, and basic necessities. The rich expect everyone else to make do with scanty rations on top of poor wages, housing...
    The year is 2030. The entire Chicagoland area is heavily militarized. All city services are privatized and owned by Ama-Drone, a company that brings together the best of Amazon and military drone technology.

    Only the richest 1% have easy access to the internet, food, clothing, and basic necessities. The rich expect everyone else to make do with scanty rations on top of poor wages, housing instability, rare access to health care, the constant threat of incarceration, and dwindling Constitutional Rights.

    Thankfully, there are those who choose to resist. Zahra is a lockpicker, and she knows that her skills can help Chicagoans liberate and access the resources they need. How To Pick A Lock is a recreation of Zahra's first skillshare when four special audience members help her learn that the work of liberation is never a solo affair.
  • SKIN (Voices Version)
    Butter's mother is a professional knife thrower. Going home can be a dangerous affair, to say the least, so this time Butter comes to dinner prepared -- in full body armor. Will Butter's attempt at self-protection be effective? What will they have to do in order to no longer be their mother's target kid?
  • Skin
    Butter's mother is a professional knife thrower. Going home can be a dangerous affair, to say the least, so this time Butter comes to dinner prepared -- in full body armor. Will Butter's attempt at self-protection be effective? What will they have to do in order to no longer be their mother's target kid?
  • REGRESSION TO THE MEAN
    Sunny is the broke outcast of his conservative, South Asian family. He is shocked when his toxic father invites him to join a new multi-level marketed cannabusiness, a legal marijuana company. Will Sunny put his past behind him and get into business with his father for a shot at financial security and family reunification or will he remain true to the values he shares with Masiko, his Dominican girlfriend?...
    Sunny is the broke outcast of his conservative, South Asian family. He is shocked when his toxic father invites him to join a new multi-level marketed cannabusiness, a legal marijuana company. Will Sunny put his past behind him and get into business with his father for a shot at financial security and family reunification or will he remain true to the values he shares with Masiko, his Dominican girlfriend? Sunny's father eventually manipulates him into blindly signing a business contract against Masiko's advice. The contract instantly saddles Sunny with debt to his father and the new cannabusiness. In the end, Sunny has to face the consequences of choosing biological family over chosen family, and he will have to earn his liberation for himself.
  • Battleground
    It's the 4th of July, and Deepa does NOT want to go to Zena's work barbecue. First of all, it's all the way out in the burbs. Second of all, the barbecue is at the home of Aliyah, Zena's crush and co-worker at Ama-drone. Can Deepa do what she needs to do to be a good partner and good guest, and just get through this barbecue in one piece?
  • Jellyfish
    After several months apart, Adi and Zoa meet up for a show. As they make their way to the front of the line, Adi learns that Zoa will not be joining them. Zoa undergoes a surprising transformation.
  • Makers
    At the pottery studio, there are hand-builders and there are wheel-throwers. Sam is a self-taught hand-builder and proud of it. She knows who the wheels are really for these days, and she has created her own space there. When Uma shows up at the pottery studio and can't get on a wheel, will Sam show Uma the basics of hand-building? In a space that is largely white, can these two people of color connect?...
    At the pottery studio, there are hand-builders and there are wheel-throwers. Sam is a self-taught hand-builder and proud of it. She knows who the wheels are really for these days, and she has created her own space there. When Uma shows up at the pottery studio and can't get on a wheel, will Sam show Uma the basics of hand-building? In a space that is largely white, can these two people of color connect? What will each of them need to recognize and give up in order to create and share space?
  • Marble Halls
    Lou is a five-eighths teenage wolf, and all they want to do is sing. However, grandma says that wolves do not sing. Singing is something that only humans do. Can Lou's human aunt, Leah, get her to sing before grandma shows up with dinner? This curtsy to James Joyce asks questions about what humanity and family are made of.
  • Fuck Cancer
    Grace is an uninsured freelance artist with a cancer diagnosis. When Grace looks into the options that she can afford, that align with her values, and those for which her friends can help her crowdfund, she finds Vandana, a just-out-of-school, also-uninsured acupuncturist who offers her services on a sliding scale. Will Grace be able to get the care she needs and beat her cancer -- or at the very least survive...
    Grace is an uninsured freelance artist with a cancer diagnosis. When Grace looks into the options that she can afford, that align with her values, and those for which her friends can help her crowdfund, she finds Vandana, a just-out-of-school, also-uninsured acupuncturist who offers her services on a sliding scale. Will Grace be able to get the care she needs and beat her cancer -- or at the very least survive it? Will Vandana overcome her personal struggles and student loan debt, create a sustainable private practice, develop A Unifying Theory of Cancer Treatment, and become the practitioner that Grace needs? Each of these women learn quickly that they are in over their heads. How will they each identify and accept the support offered to them? At what cost?
  • Amazing Timing
    Audre shows up to her coffee date with Brad very late, completely soaked, with a broken umbrella, and some big news to share. It turns out that Brad has some big news for Audre, too. Awkwardness ensues.
  • THE BLOOD OF A PANGOLIN
    This is an unedited Paula Vogel Bake-off play written in the 48 hours between March 23rd and March 25th, 2020.

    An adopted pangolin lives alone in Chicago and is getting through the novel coronavirus pandemic, she hopes, with a little help from a new internet friend. When he reveals who he really is, our new pangolin friend will have to choose between her dignity and being alone. Again.
  • IN A GOLDEN AFTERNOON
    After the Pequod closes her musical adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland," Toni reaches out to a friend via Google Hangout. IN A GOLDEN AFTERNOON holds space for all of us wondering if and how the show will go on during the global coronovirus pandemic. This play was created for and submitted to the 2020 Quarantine Bake-Off.