Lavina Jadhwani

Lavina Jadhwani

Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director, adaptor, and activist. She gravitates towards heightened language texts from Eastern and Western canons. Her adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol premiered at the Guthrie in Minneapolis in 2021 and will remain on the boards for years to come. Other plays include Shakuntala (Goodman Theatre -- FutureLabs, OSF Writers Group), The Secret Garden (...
Lavina Jadhwani is a Chicago-based director, adaptor, and activist. She gravitates towards heightened language texts from Eastern and Western canons. Her adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol premiered at the Guthrie in Minneapolis in 2021 and will remain on the boards for years to come. Other plays include Shakuntala (Goodman Theatre -- FutureLabs, OSF Writers Group), The Secret Garden (Cunningham Commission -- The Theatre School at DePaul University, O'Neill NPC semi-finalist), and The Sitayana (EastWest Players/EnActe Arts/Hypokrit Productions). She also has 90 minute adaptations of four Chekhov plays available.

Directing credits include Asolo Rep, the Gift Theatre, the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PlayMakers Rep, the Rep of St. Louis, Teatro Vista, and Rasaka Theatre Company, where she served as Artistic Director for 7 years. Her theatre training includes a well-rounded education (BFA in Scenic Design and MA in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon; MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University), numerous fellowships (OSF's Phil Killian Directing Fellowship, the O’Neill/NNPN's National Directors Fellowship, the Drama League's Classical Directing Fellowship, SDCF, Old Globe, Victory Gardens), and more than two decades of professional experience. Her critical writing has been featured on HowlRound and Rescripted and is regularly circulated in classrooms across the country.

Lavina serves on the board of the National New Play Network and the Chicago Inclusion Project, and she volunteers with Unlock Her Potential, a national mentorship program for women of color. She is a proud alum of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, where she received the show choir's Bob Fosse Choreography Award and the drama club's "lifetime achievement" award.

Plays

  • The Sitayana (or "How to Make an Exit")
    The young princess Sita follows her new husband Ram to his kingdom in Ayodhya - only to learn that he has been banished to the forest! Refusing to abandon her partner, she joins him in exile, but finds her loyalty tested to surprising lengths. A solo piece written for a South Asian woman, The Sitayana is part Hindu epic, part coming of age story, and, ultimately, a break up play. Adapted from the Sanskrit epic poem, The Ramayana.
  • The Secret Garden
    A nimble, movement-friendly adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel that re-imagines the Craven and Lennox families as Indian. When young Mary is orphaned in India, she's sent to Yorkshire to live with her Uncle Archibald at Misselthwaite Manor, where mysteries abound. When she finally meets her cousin Colin, she begins to understand who she is, by getting closer to their shared roots in the Secret Garden.
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train
    Ruth Kettering, an American heiress in an unhappy marriage, boards an overnight train from London to the French Riviera. In the morning, she is found bludgeoned to death and the famous Heart of Fire ruby is missing from her compartment. Was this a crime of passion? Or of opportunity?

    Just before her death, Ruth meets Katherine Grey, the recent recipient of a large inheritance who is traveling...
    Ruth Kettering, an American heiress in an unhappy marriage, boards an overnight train from London to the French Riviera. In the morning, she is found bludgeoned to death and the famous Heart of Fire ruby is missing from her compartment. Was this a crime of passion? Or of opportunity?

    Just before her death, Ruth meets Katherine Grey, the recent recipient of a large inheritance who is traveling abroad for the first time. After Katherine is summoned to identify the body, she finds herself strangely entangled with -- and attracted towards -- the two main suspects in Ruth's murder.

    Thankfully, THE Hercule Poirot is aboard to help solve The Mystery of the Blue Train.

    A murder mystery with a dash of rom com, adapted from Agatha Christie.
  • Persuasion
    Eight years ago, Anne Elliot turned down the penniless sailor Frederick Wentworth, and has regretted it every moment since. When Frederick returns to town looking to marry, he is quickly taken with the charming Louisa Musgrove and Anne is soon after wooed by the wealthy William Elliot, a distant relation. Will this journey end in lovers meeting?

    Come find out in this fresh-yet-faithful...
    Eight years ago, Anne Elliot turned down the penniless sailor Frederick Wentworth, and has regretted it every moment since. When Frederick returns to town looking to marry, he is quickly taken with the charming Louisa Musgrove and Anne is soon after wooed by the wealthy William Elliot, a distant relation. Will this journey end in lovers meeting?

    Come find out in this fresh-yet-faithful adaptation of Jane Austen's last novel.
  • A Christmas Carol
    A nimble Dickensian adaptation, written to be performed by as few at 12 (or as many as you'd like). Inclusive casting required.
    Premiered at the Guthrie in Minneapolis in 2021 under the direction of Joseph Haj.
  • The Cherry Orchard
    A contemporary, heightened language version of Chekhov's classic. Written to be played without intermission (90-95 minutes).
  • The Seagull
    A contemporary, heightened language version of Chekhov's classic. Written to be played without intermission (90-95 min).
  • Three Sisters
    A contemporary, heightened language version of Chekhov's classic. Intermission optional (plays around 95 minutes without).
  • Uncle Vanya
    A streamlined, heightened language version of Chekhov's classic. Intermission optional.
  • VANYA or "That's Life!"
    In this hilarious and sharp reinvention of UNCLE VANYA, there is great providence in the shattering of a teacup, time moves backwards, and our bored, sad Chekhovian friends have a tendency to lapse into singing American Indie Folk tunes. What could be more Russian? Or American?
  • Shakuntala, freely adapted from Kalidasa
    A modern adaptation of Kalidasa’s Sanskrit drama, infused with contemporary Bollywood music.
    Development: Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Theatre Company
    Finalist: Muse of Fire Festival, Atlanta Shakespeare Company
  • Birbal and Akbar: Tales of Wit and Wisdom from India
    King Akbar rules wisely and fairly with the help of his famously witty courtier Birbal. Stories of their friendship are woven together with classic Indian folk tales about community, honesty, and fairness. This nimble script invites clever movement and prop design and is aimed for audiences of all ages.
  • Juliet and Reese
    A pair of star crossed lovers are forced to grow up too soon when their are confronted with violent events in their community. This 10 minute play that spans four centuries, including two shootings in Dallas (1963 and 2016) with a little Shakespeare mixed in.

    Written for Jackalope Theatre Company's Living Newspaper Festival.
  • Ado
    Hero is falsely accused of infidelity by her fiance and publicly shamed by her father on her wedding day. When her trusted friend Margaret reveals her own role in the events, Hero chooses to forgive her. Will she choose to forgive the men who wronged her as well? And what is this contract of marriage she's entering into anyway?

    Commissioned by Indianapolis Shakespeare Company and the New Harmony Project.