Nikhil Mahapatra

Nikhil Mahapatra

Nikhil Mahapatra is a multi-disciplinary writer based in Brooklyn. They are a fan of low-quality jokes and high-quality food, hold a staunch and likely incorrect belief that most literature could be improved by the addition of dragons, and have been known to make a very good omelet. Their written work draws on queerness and race sometimes, power and love often, but most of all encircles the place where grief...
Nikhil Mahapatra is a multi-disciplinary writer based in Brooklyn. They are a fan of low-quality jokes and high-quality food, hold a staunch and likely incorrect belief that most literature could be improved by the addition of dragons, and have been known to make a very good omelet. Their written work draws on queerness and race sometimes, power and love often, but most of all encircles the place where grief and joy meet together, which, as one audience member once said, had “mixed results, but I guess I liked it”.

They are a 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a 2020 & 2021 O'Neill National Playwright's Conference Finalist, 2021 SPACE at Ryder Farm Creative Resident, 2023 Yaddo Resident, 2023 Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group member, and a finalist for a bunch of other important-sounding stuff. Their work has been showcased at Living Room Playlabs, Gingold Theatre Company, The Tank, Cherry Lane Theatre, The Brick, The Wild Project and more. Latest theatrical works include SWEETFISH!, American Hunger, CARNAL, Lost in the Fire, The Fields, Bali Babes and an untold amount of other work of questionable quality. Other media includes the short film SPF (NYITFF 2019), and select short stories and poems published in America and Singapore.

Plays

  • American Hunger
    Haresh, the owner of an Indian restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, sends his son, Akash, off to the start of his last school year. Haresh's competitor, Eng, the owner of a chinese restaurant across the street, does the same with his son, Han. As the families wave goodbye to their children for what marks the beginning of great change, they wonder about what is to come. Haresh's business is...
    Haresh, the owner of an Indian restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, sends his son, Akash, off to the start of his last school year. Haresh's competitor, Eng, the owner of a chinese restaurant across the street, does the same with his son, Han. As the families wave goodbye to their children for what marks the beginning of great change, they wonder about what is to come. Haresh's business is struggling, as gentrification slowly overtakes crown heights. He is unable to keep up with Eng - whose cuisine is more palatable to the young, white people moving into the neighbourhood. He hides his fear from his son, Akash and instead chooses to focus on Akash's upcoming college applications. Haresh's desires Akash to aim for the very top of academic success, whereas Akash is not even sure if college is meant for him. Haresh pressures Akash with stories of his own sacrifice, but Akash is flippant about it. Han and Akash discuss their future plans in life. Han attempts to show off by buying weed from Sonia, but fails to impress Akash. Instead, Sonia and Akash hit it off. Haresh tries to modify recipes to increase success with little benefit. Jones, a black customer comes into the restaurant and gets into a small fight with Haresh. On Halloween night, Akash and Han get together to go out as they always do, but Han gets angry when he learn Akash has invited Sonia along too. After a fight, they go their separate ways. Haresh's restaurant is vandalized. Anne and Eng get Han to find Akash and bring him home. The family is reunited in safety. They spend the night at Eng's home. Han and Akash make-up a little bit. Haresh has not paid for insurance and has been hit hard by the vandalism. He hides the financial difficulty from his son, who is able to detect it all the same. Samuel, a restauranteur attempts to buy Haresh's restaurant from him, but Haresh refuses. Jones also attempts to buy the restaurant, leaving Haresh with a choice. Han confesses his feelings for Akash. Winter begins in earnest, and Akash receives his first college acceptance letters. A death in the community stirs an attempt at reconciliations between Han and Akash. Haresh has decided to sell the restaurant, and is finalizing all the details. Akash argues with him, as he does not want Haresh to sacrifice his dreams just to facilitate Akash's academic and future success. Haresh claims that that is his greatest joys. Both Han and Akash's family gather for graduation and to say goodbye to the restaurant.
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  • CARNAL
    Tom, a gay man living in New York City has a very specific sexual need – he likes to engage in erotic asphyxiation. While seeking ways to satisfy his overwhelming desire, he winds up engaging in unsafe sex, nearly dying in the process. Awoken by the experience, he seeks to soothe his desires by burying himself in the duties of ‘normal life’ - ‘normal’ friendships, ‘normal’ work and a ‘normal' boyfriend....
    Tom, a gay man living in New York City has a very specific sexual need – he likes to engage in erotic asphyxiation. While seeking ways to satisfy his overwhelming desire, he winds up engaging in unsafe sex, nearly dying in the process. Awoken by the experience, he seeks to soothe his desires by burying himself in the duties of ‘normal life’ - ‘normal’ friendships, ‘normal’ work and a ‘normal' boyfriend. Tom fights to engage in these simpler aspects of life, but his own deeper desires continue to betray him and stymy his new boyfriend, Dan. Unable to satisfy himself or Dan without his fetishistic desire and having genuine emotion for Dan, Tom takes a leap of faith in trusting Dan with his desires. Dan attempts to reciprocate, but the lines between what each of them can and can't do have already been drawn. Tom's attempts to both satisfy his sexual desires and reject them lead him down a self-destructive path to the end.
  • Afterwards
    Flora has returned home to deal with the aftermath of her father’s death, alongside her estranged sister, Viola. As Flora tries to navigate her emotions and the sordid business side of loss, she must also contend with a multitude of leftover feelings and conflicts she has with her sister. As the sisters try to proceed with some amount of decorum, Baudelaire, an unknown friend of their father who does not know...
    Flora has returned home to deal with the aftermath of her father’s death, alongside her estranged sister, Viola. As Flora tries to navigate her emotions and the sordid business side of loss, she must also contend with a multitude of leftover feelings and conflicts she has with her sister. As the sisters try to proceed with some amount of decorum, Baudelaire, an unknown friend of their father who does not know of his passing, appears. As Flora tries to untangle the situation, she connects with this stranger over the loss of someone they both loved, while Viola reacts violently to the invasion of their personal mourning period. It is revealed that Baudelaire had a deeper than expected relationship with their father, and the revelation forces the sister to confront what it means to be a family.
  • LOVE YOU MORE
    England, time unclear but also very much present-day. Lear wants to be affirmed of Cordelia's love for him and their family. Cordelia wants to prove herself and her independence. She's a little haughty about it. And he's stupidly stubborn. And Goneril is sitting somewhere in the background, munching on a sandwich. Regan was cut from this story - three sisters is too many. An adaptation-not-...
    England, time unclear but also very much present-day. Lear wants to be affirmed of Cordelia's love for him and their family. Cordelia wants to prove herself and her independence. She's a little haughty about it. And he's stupidly stubborn. And Goneril is sitting somewhere in the background, munching on a sandwich. Regan was cut from this story - three sisters is too many. An adaptation-not-adaptation focusing on love and duty and the pressures it creates within a family unit.
  • Bali Babes
    3 resort workers in Bali enjoy a night by the hotel pool, which they are not explicitly not allowed to use.
  • LOST IN THE FIRE
    Aman, a muslim in rapidly hindu-centric india, weighs his options when it comes to changing the world - working within the system or outside of it.
  • The Fields
    A group of teenagers head to Cambodia on a service trip, and reckon with the truth of what brought them there.
  • EVERY GODDAMN DAY
    three coworkers at an ordinary day at the call center.