Anjali Mya Chadha
Actor, Writer, Producer
Writer & Producer - Dadism.
Meet Dad - A successful, career-driven 40 something man who has become a father for the first time. For a man that has never been out of his depth, boy is he…
On the night of the baby’s birth, Dad finds himself turfed out of the maternity ward, having been told to come back at visiting times.
But he’s not a visitor. Is he? Surely visitors are aunties and cousins.
He’s the dad… or ‘your husband’... or birthing partner… now overstaying visitor… soon to be babysitter…
His identity seems to be determined by everyone else except him.
In a world where his wife is ‘Mum,’ and he has been relegated to ‘birthing partner,’ will he ever establish a position of his own?
Dadism! From the writer of the award nominated ‘The Dateless Wonder,’ comes a brand new comedy about parenting and double standards.
Between the stern midwife, the alpha couple that are Jenna & Jayesh, and social norms, what is the role of a dad in this day and age?
And does Dad actually have a name? Well, that will be explained...
Dadism is a solo male show, charting the experience of a man becoming a father for the first time. It is a comedy about identity, what it means to be a man and father whilst navigating traditional gender roles, and cultural norms of dads being providers rather than carers.
This comedy is the first of a trilogy charting the first three years of a new dad’s experience.
"...is daddy on babysitting duties?"
"No! Its called patenting..."
"Dadism cleverly narrates the daunting aspect of the pregnancy process through the eyes of a first time father, "
"Dadism is completely relatable, and I believe everyone can see a part of themselves in this timeless comedy!"
Dadism – Parenting NOT Babysitting!
It’s quite apt that on the day Bollywood director Karan Johar announces his new fatherhood role to the world – twins via surrogacy, I’m attending the final show of Alison Chadwick’s directorial, Dadism. Written by the creator of “The Dateless Wonder”, Anjali Mya Chadha, this one man show, in the Watermans Theatre in London, starring Jason Kavan is a light hearted yet sincere insight into the role of the ‘non-carrying’ parent, the Dad!
What’s apparent in the first five minutes of the show, is that you don’t have to be a parent to be engaged in this hilarious comedy. The tone of the narrative sits firm as Jason Kavan takes the audience into a journey of ‘becoming’ the dad as opposed to already being that parent the minute a child has been conceived. To clear any misconceptions, this story is certainly not that of an alpha-male anti-feminist overgrown man-child craving attention, far from it! Jason’s story of a proud father-to-be is a universal echo of a father’s vital role in parenthood which goes beyond being just the sperm donor.
On many occasions, there are nods in unison within the audience, as we witness the comical yet very real societal expectations millennial couples feel pressured to conform to, from the ‘right’ time to having a child, the ‘right’ time to announce a pregnancy to choosing the ‘best’ birthing method. It’s not just the expectant mothers who question their ability to carry through the welcoming of a new life in the ‘right’ way, but fathers too.
Dadism cleverly narrates the daunting aspect of the pregnancy process through the eyes of a first time father, as he slowly watches his identify change from name to noun and sometimes sheer invisibility, a fear that I’m sure must resonate amongst many new fathers. Amongst the fits of hysteria in the seventy minutes, the play doesn’t fail to highlight the serious issue of the lack of both social and systematic support in recognising the integral role of the non-carrying parent. Limiting a new father’s visitation hours post the birth of a child, the not so subtle “It’s ok if daddy can’t attend the midwife visit” throwaway yet harmful comments, all play part in downplaying the importance of being dad. More importantly, a partner’s moral support is heightened and imperative on making key decisions such as birthing methods, or as Jason said, “The midwife showed us the water-birth option, all I could see was a paddling pool from Argos.!”
It helps to have a voice of reason when an expectant mother’s hormones are raging faster than Speedy Gonzales!
Jason Kavan and comedy come hand in hand. He couples his quick wit and comebacks with the audience members to keep us engaged and captivated.
Whilst there is no distinct reference to this subject just being confined to fathers of an ethnic background, Jason cleverly depicts his moment of being stopped, as a man of colour, by the police in the city as he was holding a ‘suspicious’ looking brown bag (i.e. his sandwich) in a complete light hearted manner.
The duo of director Alison Chadwick and writer Anjali Mya Chadha reflects the strong chemistry of their partnership. The slick and sharp direction is complemented by Anjali’s funny yet sincere and honest writing. It’s refreshing to see a male oriented subject borne from a female perspective and Anjali and Alison have certainly created that niche. What’s beautiful about Dadism however, is that throughout the setbacks while trying to be recognised as an equal, the concept of a new life is constantly perceived with such a celebratory view by the protagonist. The question on everyone’s mind is… what happens next.? Here’s to the next chapter!
Sejal Sehmi - The Asian Today
If you’re in need of a good giggle and a night away from the kids, then this is a brilliant performance! Dadism is completely relatable, and I believe everyone can see a part of themselves in this timeless comedy!
It is a piece of comedy theatre that explores situations that men go through when becoming a father… and it is absolutely hilarious. No matter who you are, you will have found yourself in a similar situation to ‘Dad’ at one time or another, and this comedy helps you see the funny side of it all! This script certainly does fly the flag for all the dads out there, who sometimes get forgotten!
Jason Kavan who plays the role of Dad is a brilliant story teller. I have so much respect for anyone who is cast in a one man show, as you really have to use your imagination to take your audience on a journey. Without a doubt, Jason did this. The audience members were treated as friends, and he soon built up personal relationships with certain individuals within the audience. One of my favourite elements of this piece is the audience interaction. No two nights will be the same, as it has so much heart and spontaneity. The running themes and in-jokes between certain individuals are what make this such a special production.
The appropriate set and lighting added to the warmth of this piece, and the direction and script were creative. Director Alison Chadwick brought to life this text, and made it visually captivating. The words of the script by Anjali Mya Chadha are what made this such a heartfelt and relatable piece.
In conclusion, this show speaks volumes and is effortlessly funny. It has character and charm like no other and I urge you all to go and see it. I wish the cast and crew the best of success and hope that this returns for a longer run at some point in the near future!
Holly Burgess - Theatrical Insight
A note from the writer.
When I go to the theatre I don’t see me on stage. I rarely have. Adding to that, I don’t see the people in my life, in particular the men. Taking that one step further, I don’t see the Asian men I know.
Asian men's voices tend to be underrepresented. The voices that are out there stay within a close cluster of issues, such as honour-based violence or terrorism, and usually never written by them.
What I recognise are men that have normal lives, jobs, concerns, family and friends; who are partners and fathers.
That’s where Dadism came from. A subject that is universal for a lot of men whatever their background.
Universal human experience has always formed the basis of my work. I said exactly the same thing when I wrote my previous show, The Dateless Wonder.
Rather than looking at all our differences, my work will always celebrate what connects us, something we can sometimes be all to ready to forget.
Venues like Watermans are few and far between. They have always championed and supported different voices to the normal stereotypes and that's what's powerful about theatre. Therefore, I feel very fortunate that Watermans supported Dadism wholeheartedly.
I feel equally lucky to have found a director like Alison. I can truly say that I have grown as a writer and artist due to her influence.
When I couldn’t get any luckier, Jason rocked up. He grabbed the script and took in a direction that really seemed to suit the piece. He bought a lot to the table, played with the material, injected his own humour and made it his own.
Benjamin was the final piece in the puzzle. He’s a wonderful designer and Dadism is richer for his take on it.
I’m very proud of my team and proud of Dadism. I hope you all enjoy it!
Benjamin Bailey de Paor
Anjali Mya Chadha
Daniel K. Hatton
Additional material by:
Jason Kavan and Alison Chadwick
Thank you to each and every person at Watermans for your unconditional support and belief in Dadism.
Also to the Guru Restaurant for looking after us so well.
And an extra special thank you to: