Priyanka Shetty’s THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Opens at Keegan June 1

One-Woman Show Returns to Keegan for DC Premiere After Developmental Workshop in Keegan’s 2020 Boiler Room Series and International Tour

May 29, 2024: The Keegan Theatre is pleased to announce the opening of Priyanka Shetty’s acclaimed one-woman play THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, making its DC Premiere June 1-23, 2024. Priyanka returns to Keegan after workshopping this play as part of the 2020 Boiler Room Series, Keegan’s developmental initiative aimed at supporting works by exciting new voices.

“THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM holds a special place in my heart,” explains Shetty. “It emerged during one of the darkest periods of my life as an international student in America. What began as a means of personal expression quickly evolved into a profound journey of self-discovery. This deeply personal narrative has transformed into a universal piece exploring the challenges of reconciling our identities and nurturing our inner selves amidst the constant chaos of the world. Through this play, I hope to inspire audiences to embrace their inner wisdom, confront the elephants in their lives without fear, and boldly acknowledge them.”

About the play: “One-Woman Wonder” Priyanka Shetty’s THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is a witty, dark comedy about just your typical Indian metalhead and software-engineer-turned-actor who must navigate life as an immigrant arriving in Trump’s America. When Priyanka makes the bold move to defy her family by quitting her IT job and moving to the US to pursue an acting career, things don’t quite turn out how she imagined. Watch Priyanka’s real life story unfold as she transitions from her deeply embedded roots in India to find context and common ground in America. Gear up for a funny, tumultuous ride through immiscible cultures, unforgettable love, irreparable loss, and the desperation of not belonging anywhere.

About the playwright & performer: Priyanka Shetty is an award-winning actor, director, and playwright based in Philadelphia, PA. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM has been performed at numerous venues across the country including The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and was staged at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe as part of the Assembly Festival which was followed by a Scotland Tour. Priyanka made her Off-Broadway debut with #CHARLOTTESVILLE at the Drama Desk award-winning 59E59 Theaters’ “East to Edinburgh” Festival in 2021. She was also handpicked for the prestigious Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive in 2021, and was the semi-finalist for the 2022 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Priyanka earned a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Virginia and has served on the faculty of the University of Virginia’s Department of Drama.

About the Boiler Room Series: Since 2017, Keegan’s Boiler Room Series has been dedicated to spotlighting and supporting the creative minds and voices that are driving theater in DC and beyond to new and unexpected places. Efforts have included international, national, and local searches for new plays and musicals, offering support and a stage for new and unique performances and performers, and shepherding exciting new works from napkin drawings to fully realized stage productions. Recent works supported by the Boiler Room Series include Lisa Stephen Friday’s musical TRANS AM (a 2023 hit at NYC’s Joe’s Pub and soon moving Off-Broadway), Drew Anderson & Dwayne Lawson-Brown’s PUSH THE BUTTON, and Graziella Jackson’s THE WILTING POINT (part of Graziella’s ELEMENTS play cycle).

The production team for THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM includes Suli Holum (Director), Theresa M. Davis (Original Director & Dramaturg), Gabrielle Busch (Stage Manager), Dirk Durossette (Scenic Designer), Julie Briski (Lighting Designer), Ben Harvey (Lighting Coordinator), Natali D Merill (Sound Designer), Heather Mease (Composer), Gordon Nimmo-Smith (Sound Coordinator), Zoe Lucas (Associate Sound Coordinator), Katherine Stefl & Leigh Paradise (Costume Designers), and Lavina Jadhwani (Dramaturg).

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM runs June 1-23, 2024 with performances Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 3:00 pm.

Special events scheduled throughout the run include:

  • Sunday, June 9: Matinee Child Care is available onsite, provided by Keegan PLAY-RAH-KA Teaching Artists. (Limited capacity, advance registration required.)
  • Monday, June 10: Playwright in Residence Welcome Reception for Priyanka Shetty, featuring a film viewing of Priyanka’s journey through the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, announcements about future projects in the works for Priyanka and Keegan, and an audience Q&A. (All tickets available Pay What You Can)
  • Friday, June 14: Young Professionals Happy Hour, which includes discounted tickets to the show and 1 complimentary pre-show drink.
  • Sunday, June 23: “Meet the Artists” Talkback immediately following the matinee performance. (Free and open to all patrons)