UNITED STATES V. GUPTA
In Collaboration With New Georges! UNITED STATES V. GUPTA is a musical tragedy that attempts to tell the story of Rajat Gupta. In the summer of 2012, Gupta—a former head of McKinsey—was tried, convicted, and incarcerated for insider trading. More than a decade removed from the events of his trial, his youngest daughter, Deepali Gupta, is presenting her own version—in collaboration with director Caitlin Sullivan. What if the courtroom were a theater? What if a juror burst into song? Working with materials that are transcribed, remembered, and imagined, Deepali writes a play that maps a history. And yes—she’s playing herself.
in collaboration with New Georges
UNITED STATES V. GUPTA
by Deepali Gupta
directed by Caitlin Sullivan
produced by Lucy Jackson
more more more! watch this space + https://www.jackny.org/deepaligupta
IN PROCESS In 2019, Deepali approached Caitlin about creating a piece drawn from the experience of her father’s trial. The pair began working on what would become UNITED STATES V. GUPTA as part of the New Georges Jam. Their early experiments together drew the attention of JACK, a performance meets civic space in Brooklyn. Over the past three years, Caitlin and Deepali have continued to create and develop material with support from producer, project manager and arts organizer, Lucy Jackson. We are thrilled to collaborate with JACK on the premiere.
Deepali says: “My past work has taken many forms, from conventional musical theater to experimental lecture. I have always been committed to formal experimentation–my early compositions include Motown-influenced choral arrangements of Chekhov monologues and polyrhythmic Marian hymns. UNITED STATES v GUPTA draws on my background as a musical theater librettist and lyricist to employ best practices and subvert tropes from that tradition. This will also be the first production of my work in which I function as playwright, composer, and performer. I am an Indian-American woman, and a first-generation immigrant; it is the first work I’ve made which consciously explores my culture and heritage.
One of my personal hopes is that seeing this piece will politically radicalize my father. This ambition stretches beyond our personal relationship—I hope that audiences will leave the theater questioning their assumptions about the adversarial system, ‘guilt’ and ‘innocence,’ who is deserving of incarceration, and why. We approach our “source material” with a myriad of tactics; one strategy is to use my personal relationship to the material to uplift subjectivity and position it as a viable alternative to any assumption of objectivity.
This show investigates Western theatrical conventions, such as the concept of the tragic flaw, with the ambition of transforming them. Throughout coverage of the trial, my father’s story would be called a Greek tragedy; he was once compared to Othello. Fascinated by this projection, I have woven in elements of Western tragedies (like Hamlet’s ghost) throughout the piece. At the same time, I deny the audience their catharsis, and cross-examine the sense of inevitability that accompanies a real tragedy.”
MEET THE LEAD ARTISTS
Deepali Gupta is a composer, performance artist, and theater practitioner. Her artistic practice has been supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council, NYSCA, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, and the NYC Women’s Fund. She makes work in an effort to support the cause of Mad liberation. Past collaborations as a composer include Minor Character (created by New Saloon), Ski End (created by Piehole), and Madonna col Bambino (with Sarah Einspanier and Caitlin Sullivan). Collaborations as a librettist include Nightlife (with composer TJ Rubin) and Banana Ketchup (with Nilo Alcala). Deepali is an alumnus of The Civilians’ R&D Group, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, and the New Georges Jam. Her work has been commissioned by Ars Nova, JACK, and Target Margin Theater. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Poetry Project. B.A. Brown University; M.F.A. New York University.
Caitlin Sullivan is a director and theater maker. Recent work includes The Good John Proctor (Talene Monahon/Bedlam), WORK HARD HAVE FUN MAKE HISTORY (ruth tang/Clubbed Thumb), Ohio (The Bengsons/Actors Theatre of Louisville) and the remount of Sanctuary City (Martyna Majok/NYTW). Caitlin has developed and directed solo and memoir based work with a variety of writer performers including Sacha Yanow, Obehi Janice, The Bengsons and Deepali Gupta. This summer she will be premiering Obehi Janice’s Nova at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. Caitlin was previously the Artistic Director of Seattle’s critically acclaimed Satori Group. She is a graduate of Williams College and an alum of the Clubbed Thumb Directing Fellowship, the Drama League Directors Project and Next Stage Residency, and the New Georges Jam. photo: Delaine Dacko
Lucy Jackson is a London-born, Brooklyn-based independent performing arts producer, who supports playwrights and multidisciplinary artists to develop, produce and tour new work. She currently produces for Deepali Gupta, Rachel Mars, Greg Wohead and for Salty Brine’s Living Record Collection. Lucy has produced with venues and companies in NYC including The Bushwick Starr, NYTW Next Door, The Play Company, BAM Fisher, La MaMa ETC, the New Ohio, and JACK. She has produced national & international tours to venues including UMS Ann Arbor, the A.R.T., Cambridge, On the Boards, Seattle, Fusebox Festival, Austin, and Melbourne & Brisbane fringes. Work in the UK includes 9 years at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Latitude & VAULT festivals, and productions at the Finborough Theatre, Bush Theatre and Theatre503. Previous roles include Interim Producing & Producing Artistic Director at the Bushwick Starr, New York Producer for Los Angeles Performance Practice, Producing Director for The Assembly, Development Director for the New Ohio Theatre, and General Manager/Touring Producer for the TEAM. She was a 2018-2020 WP Lab Fellow, co-teaches a Creative Producing class at The New School, is a member of the Creative Independent Producer Alliance (CIPA), and is on the administrative team of the 2022 CIPA Rising Producer Fellowship.
MEET JACK JACK is an award-winning performance meets civic space located at 20 Putnam Ave in Brooklyn. JACK is led by Co-Directors Jordana De La Cruz and Skye E. Kowaleski. We present over 80 theater, music and dance performances a year and hold community conversations on issues of importance to our neighborhood. Our mission is to fuel experiments in art and activism, collaborating with adventurous artists and our neighbors to bring about a more just and vibrant society.
UNITED STATES V GUPTA is produced by Lucy Jackson and presented In collaboration with New Georges, with funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Women’s Fund, the Bel Geddes Design Fund and the Axe-Houghton Foundation.