Vaishnavi Sridhar on playing Radhabai

 
 Vaishnavi Sridhar as Radhabai

Vaishnavi Sridhar as Radhabai

 

Radhabai, the cook in the Nadkarni household, is a classic representative of her ilk. Having come from abject poverty, she knows her welfare depends on the goodwill of her employers, and that she must play her cards carefully if she is to stay in their good auspices. As is true of most of the characters in Wedding Album, nothing is quite as it seems with Radhabai. There is a side to her that is hidden and she harbors a great burden in the form of a tragic secret she dare not disclose.

While she is loyal and loving, especially to Vidula, the darling of the family who is about to get married, Radhabai is also cantankerous as only a long time member of the family can be. For me, the best part about playing Radhabai is that she is so familiar! Having grown up in a middle class Indian household just like Vidula, I spent time with and grew attached to a few Radhabais myself, each one unique, complex and intriguing in her own way. Maybe the most fascinating aspect of Radhabai’s character is that she lives large in the minds of almost all the family members. They all discuss her at length in her absence. So much so that her story itself almost becomes a character in the play and takes on a life of its own.

On a personal level, this has been a wonderful journey for me. From my director, Sindu Singh, I am learning what constitutes good theater and what goes into getting truly under the skin of a character. And I love this rambunctious cast. Every one of my co-actors comes a little unhinged when faced with a funny line or situation and rehearsals are filled with uproarious laughter. You will see some of that great chemistry on stage when you come see Wedding Album!

– Vaishnavi Sridhar