“Critic’s Pick! A confident playwright…who with Public Obscenities, may have found himself on the brink of greatness…uniformly excellent cast…leaves the audience longing for even more.” - The New York Times

“Along with 'Infinite Life' by Annie Baker and 'Stereophonic' by David Adjmi, 'Public Obscenities' has made New York a sudden paradise for stately, naturalistic, complexly layered masterworks.” - The New Yorker

“Exquisitely crafted…meticulously rendered middle-class Bengali home…dense and detailed…rich and strange. The play’s great poignancy lies in its restraint. The whole ensemble is marvelous.” - New York Magazine

“As a writer, Chowdhury interweaves humor, allusion, gravity, and extended metaphor as if each quality were a musical line, making an integrated symphonic whole.” - The New Yorker

“As a director, his greatest talent is how he uses his spectacular cast. Each virtuoso is gorgeously at ease.” - The New Yorker

“Acted with generous doses of stage-filling warmth by a terrific cast, the play is acutely well-observed, sexually frank and often funny.” - The Wall Street Journal

“THIS YEAR'S BEST THEATRE (2023)” - The New Yorker

“TOP 10 ARTS AND CULTURE FAVORITES FROM 2023” - The Hollywood Reporter

“Features inventive production, with subtitles, videos and photographs artfully projected, to tell a moving story.” - The Hollywood Reporter

“'Public Obscenities' is the most Bengali play…heartwarming, unusual, and astounding.” - The Juggernaut



TFANA and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Soho Rep and the NAATCO National Partnership Project’s
Public Obscenities
Written and Directed by Shayok Misha Chowdhury
January 17 – February 25, 2024

Running time: 3 hours and 5 minutes, including one intermission

Because in my dream…there I am seeing what the camera is seeing. Isn’t it? Only this. Vision is the camera.

Public Obscenities explores the pleasures and pitfalls of living in translation as it follows a queer studies PhD student returning to his family home in Kolkata with his Black American boyfriend.

This “gorgeously precise” (The New Yorker) bilingual (English and Bangla) new play had its premiere at Soho Rep in 2023 and enjoyed a very successful run. It was a New York Times Critic’s Pick which hailed Shayok Misha Chowdhury as “a writer with great promise.” 

Featuring: Tashnuva Anan, Abrar Haque, Golam Sarwar Harun, Gargi Mukherjee, NaFis, Jakeem Dante Powell, Debashis Roy Chowdhury


Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a many-tentacled writer and director based in Brooklyn. A Mark O’Donnell Prize and Princess Grace Award recipient, Misha was an inaugural Project Number One Artist at Soho Rep, where he recently directed the world premiere of his playwriting debut Public Obscenities “with a swooning hypnotism reminiscent of the best works of neorealism” (New York Times, Critic’s Pick). Co-produced by Soho Rep and NAATCO, Public Obscenities was nominated for three Drama League and four Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Direction, and the cast won the Drama Desk Ensemble Award for embodying “the transnational world” of Misha’s “bilingual play with memorable authenticity, remarkable specificity, and extraordinary warmth.” Misha is also a Jonathan Larson Grant awardee for his body of work writing musical theater with composer Laura Grill Jaye; their as yet unproduced musical How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia was awarded the 2022 Relentless Award in honor of Adam Schlesinger and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Misha was also a collaborator on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns. Other recent collaborations: Brother, Brother (New York Theatre Workshop) with Aleshea Harris; SPEECH (Philly Fringe) with Lightning Rod Special; MukhAgni (Under the Radar @ The Public Theater) with Kameron Neal. A Sundance Fellow, Misha is the creator of VICHITRA, a series of short films including Englandbashi (Ann Arbor Film Festival); The Other Other (Ars Nova); An Anthology of Queer Dreams (Audio Unbound Award finalist); and In Order to Become (The Bushwick Starr). A NYSCA/NYFA, Fulbright, and Kundiman fellow in poetry, Misha has been published in The Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. Residencies: Hermitage, Ucross, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, SPACE on Ryder Farm, NYTW 2050, The Public’s Devised Theater Working Group, Ars Nova’s Makers Lab, Soho Rep’s Writer Director Lab, New York Stage and Film, Drama League, Mercury Store, BRIC. BA: Stanford. MFA: Columbia.

Peiyi Wong, Scenic Designer
Enver Chakartash, Costume Designer
Barbara Samuels, Lighting Designer
Tei Blow, Sound Designer
Johnny Moreno, Video/Projection Designer
Patricia Marjorie, Prop Designer
Sarah Lunnie, Dramaturg
Sukanya Chakrabarti, Cultural Dramaturg
Teniece Divya Johnson, Original Intimacy Director
Tommy Kurzman, Hair and Wigs

Tenley Pitonzo, Production Stage Manager
Stephanie Yankwitt, CSA, Casting (tbd casting co.)

Understudies never substitute for listed players unless an announcement is made prior to the performance.

Understudies: Shreyo Banerjee, Rajib Bhattacharya, Komolika, Mita Paul, Jon-Michael Reese

Design by Paul Davis Studio / Mo Hinojosa

Beginning with TFANA’s 2023-24 season, face masks for audiences are encouraged, but not required.


Deloitte and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the 2023-2024 Season Sponsors.

Principal support for Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs is provided by the Bay and Paul Foundations, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation Fund in the New York Community Trust, The SHS Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and The Thompson Family Foundation.

Theatre for a New Audience’s season and programs are also made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.