Women of the Dust (1992)
by Ruth Carter
On a dusty Delhi construction site, an itinerant, all-female workforce are gathered. They hail from Rajasthan, where yet again the rains have failed, there is nothing to harvest, and their stomachs are empty. The Jamadar (middle man) has brought them here to work for a fat cat building luxury flats for India’s super rich.
Asha waits to give birth to her first child - her time is near, but there is no money. Lali, a child bride wedded at four, awaits life with a husband she cannot recollect. Nisha and Mohini, the privileged Bose sisters, run a rural development programme - they no longer see eye to eye and wonder which way to turn.
Commissioned by Oxfam to mark their 50th anniversary, Women of the Dust, a bold portrayal of migrant Indian life, went on to perform in Delhi and Mumbai, marking Tamasha’s first international tour.
Winner of the CRE Race in the Media Award (BBC Radio 4 adaptation)
“Sue Mayes’ sun-baked setting creates a tremendous sense of place and Landon-Smith’s production is powerfully played. The play was commissioned by Oxfam to mark its 50th anniversary; both subject and treatment live up to the cause.”
Director Kristine Landon-Smith
Designer Sue Mayes
Lighting Designer Lorraine Laybourne
Composer & Musical Director John O’Hara
Original Cast Sudha Bhuchar, Shiv Grewal, Niki Jhutti, Shobu Kapoor, Jamila Massey, Rehan Sheikh, Dinesh Shukla, Nina Wadia