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Straight from a Horse’s Heart - A Zoom Play

Vikrant in conversation with the members of the online play - Straight from a Horse’s Heart!

Straight from a Horse’s Heart, an online play directed by Arjun Raina, is a dark English drama with a humorous Indian twist set in a rural Victorian healing center, performed by 8 actors from their own homes.

Arjun Raina, along with cast-members Dipanjali Rao, Alison Richards, Scott Welsh, Peter Fernon, Lawrie O’Dwyer, and Michael Camplin discuss their upcoming play, and their experience of collaborating online on

Its Global premiere is scheduled from 14th -18th October - AEST 8:30pm /9pm start - IST 3:30pm/4pm

Story Synopsis:

Om Shanti Holistic Healing Center, a nursing home for the aged and terminally ill, owned by health and wellness magnate Victoria Shaw and run by Paro, a robotic nurse. The story opens with a cancer patient Andy introducing both his own life as well as that of his room-mate, a seemingly depressed and silent Indian Man. Paro takes care of them using technologically savvy methods. Interwoven into the fabric of this care is the war of possession being fought between Victoria Shaw and her son John Shaw. A fight for the control of the trust that runs the entire business. The smooth running of the operation is jeopardized when Paro (as promised by the inventor) adapts so perfectly to her role that she transforms herself into a ‘normal’ woman. The plot thickens, convolutes and the consequent complication and its climactic resolution brings this ‘social satire’ to its comic but meaningful conclusion.

Arjun Raina is a playwright, actor, teacher and Kathakali dancer. His original works for the theater have been performed extensively around the world. His latest (2020) publication Teaching Kathakali in Australia: Mirroring the Master (Routledge, U.K) documents the growing significance of Asian Arts in Australia. His students in India include Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Adil Hussain. He has written directed and produced this show. He plays the sutradhaar.

Cherian Jacob is founder of Cicero's Circle( and has produced and performed in over 8 show since the groups inception in 2013. He combines his passion for theater with his professional life linked to all things MBA related. He likes to define himself without putting limits, he is open to new explorations. He plays Mr.Varma and has been in charge of production and publicity of this show.

Dipanjali Rao is a writer, artist, and digital professional who has curated and performed in shows exploring family violence, female sexuality in Indian classical music and impact of colonisation on her identity. Dipa plays the important role of Paro the nurse

Alison Richards has performed in traditional and non-traditional theatre projects and in film, TV, radio and online dramas in Australia and internationally since the 1970s. Her solo performance installationThe Fold was presented as part of the Women Playwrights International theatre festival in Mumbai, 2009. She plays Victoria Shaw the owner of the Om Shanti Healing Center

Peter Fernon is a singer/storyteller who, in the persona of Charlie Lightfoot, a 107 year old spud picker and sax player sings popular songs of the swing era as well as songs about itinerant rural workers outside supermarkets. Charlie also tells epic tales such as "The Odyssey" and "The Epic of Gilgamesh". He plays Robert the Rabbit Ridder.

Tim Henderson is an Entertainer and Educator. His mission is to increase the sum total of human happiness by stiltwalking, juggling, singing, playing and dancing. He plays a detective Leslie Johnson

Scott Welsh plays roles in theatre, TV, and film. They are distorted versions of himself; outcaste poets, Christ, and Charles Manson among them. He plays a cancer Patient Andy Marvin

Lawrie O’Dwyer’s acting experience ranges from the amateur to professional theatre and has played an extra in many Australian films. Besides living on a farm and farming, he creates mosaic sculptures and jewellery, writes poetry and has written and illustrated a children’s story book published in 2019. He plays John Shaw Victoria Shaws son.

Michael Camplin, in his words, is a consultant by day, drummer by night, debuting in the theatre stage light. A “lover of wine and cheese, and always ready with a more Biryani please.”Michael plays the detective Peter Thompson and is also doing the important role of stage management.


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