"Most women take a stand in their lives every day — it could be to combat how an ex-lover is treating them or simply to not be pushed around while using public transport,” are the first comments that director Ankur Kakatkar shares with us, when we ask about his new play titled Frames. Featuring actors Gitanjalee Ganage and Mayura Palande, the play is made up of five monologues that feature subjects like coping with a husband’s death, homosexuality, surviving rape, graduating at 50 and falling in love again. “The idea emerged when Gitanjali and I were part of a theatre workshop. Instead of doing traditional theatre games, we devised one where I sent her a three-line brief and she fleshed it out. I gave her the character, age and situation and she developed it. I loved her writing and suggested that she writes them out as monologues and that’s how Frames happened. We first staged it on June 5,” says Kakatkar.
Mayura Palande in scenes from Framed
The five women in the play are aged between 22 and 50. The first character Swanandi, lives in India in 1947. She gets married to a 19-year-old boy when she is 12. Her husband, who is a freedom fighter, loves her hair, and when he dies, he makes her promise that she will not let anyone cut her hair, as was the tradition for widows back then. She takes a stand and flees her house with her children. Riya, the second character in the play, who works for an NGO, is a rape victim. When her boss asks her to marry him, she reveals her past. He agrees to marry to her but makes himself out to be a hero who is obliging a girl who has been raped. She calls off the wedding.
The story of Radhika, who is unable to conceive and blamed for it, only to later realise that it’s her husband who needs treatment, makes the third monologue. Pooja, a lesbian talks of discovering herself and her journey with her partner. The last story is about Saraswati, a woman who is not allowed to study as a young bride. After her husband’s death and when her children have settled down, she joins college at 47 and graduates at the age of 50.
These characters do not speak about feminism or try to make a change in a clichéd manner. They are not preachy. They speak about how they took a stand and supported themselves. The common thread binding the stories is the love these women have for Mogra. The 85-minute play uses music interludes to separate the stories from each other,” shares Kakatkar.
ON June 17, 6.30 pm
AT The Hive, 50-A, Huma Mansion, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W).