‘Heroes of Everyday’ is finally here! This will be a monthly column featuring regular people doing not-so-regular things. Written by Irina Pavlova, the column will explore the lives of men and women who boldly step outside their comfort zone, finding new passions and talents, learning as they go, and trying to make the most of everyday.
This month we have featured comedian/insurance broker Radhika Vaz www.radvaz.com.
Blunt, provocative, and explosively funny. Meet Radhika Vaz, a day-time insurance broker and a performer at night. Her self-created comedy Unladylike, which has been playing in NYC since September 2010, is a personal call for action. In her cute cocktail dress and with a cup of tea – the irreplaceable attributes of a true lady – she explores the subjects of Brazilian bikini-waxes, tight jeans, bisexual fantasies, even farting. Scandalous? Maybe not for NYC, but certainly for her native India, where sexism is a part of daily existence. Rapidly growing popularity of her show is an outcome of a well-known formula: talent plus hard work, mainly on overcoming frustrations and self-doubts about pursuing her passion – to write and to perform. After having been born as a stage performer, Radhika shares her story of action and fruitful collaboration with Marin Romashko with the readers.
Radhika, tell us about your show, mainly the message that you aim to convey to your audience?
My monologue is a collection of personal observations. It is about the way that the society has created a list of rules that women need to follow to be considered beautiful, by both men and women. And we have created a situation for ourselves that leaves no option to do otherwise! Of course, what I am communicating here is nothing new. Uniqueness lies in my personal voice. For many Indian women it is very new as there are not that many female comedians, and, normally, they do not go far.
Was writing the most difficult aspect of creating a comedy-style monologue?
Not really. Building the audience was the hardest as it was an issue of self-confidence. Marina suggested starting a blog, which served two purposes: getting into the habit of writing and testing the responses from my future audience. This blog gave me confidence in small amounts. Secondly, planning for the show seemed impossible as I needed a director, a venue, staff… I simply did not know where to start! Marina helped me to break down the planning stage, treating each piece as an individual project.
Besides the ability to deconstruct complex tasks, would you say that Marina’s strength as an iDEA COACH is in making one “stick” to a rigid schedule?
Building discipline is certainly crucial, especially in writing. But Marina’s contribution into my work was much broader. She had a vision for me, asking bigger questions: what is after the show? For now, I am certainly happy with the ways things are, even though there are still plenty of things to do, such as staging the show in India. But my longer-term goal is also clear: to have my own TV show.
Having done some travelling through India, it is not difficult to foresee challenges with staging Unladylike in her homeland, even though the show’s popularity in NYC confirms the need to expand. The message needs a global presence, and India should not be the only destination. All of us need a mental trigger in order to pause and reflect on our daily behaviors that we have come to accept as “appropriate.” Radhika’s personal success story is certainly a trigger to stop and think about our own ideas and projects that we have been “sitting” on for days, months, or even years! Change is a gradual process with timelines and intermediate goals. Maybe the time has finally arrived for our ideas to come to life, and why not with a gentle push of an iDEA COACH?
This column is written by Irina Pavlova