When Lushin Dubey, the noted actress and director tells us, “It is extremely difficult as a solo performer to carry a play on your shoulders”; we empathise instantaneously. After all, women don a similar role all over the world daily. Today and tomorrow, Dubey will be essaying thought-provoking women characters in Bitter Chocolate and Untitled at NCPA.
Continuing, she opines, “As a solo performer, you need to figure out two things. First, how do you tell a story and how can the stagecraft be used. When it comes to the latter, I don’t push the point too heavily on sets. I like them to be practical as I travel a lot but at the same time they need to be metaphoric.” The second thing she feels is “You need to make the play interactive and palpably sense the audience in order to improvise accordingly.” She further comments, “You can’t rule out the entertainment factor especially if you are on stage for one hour and twenty minutes”.
Directed by a renowned exponent of subject-oriented theatre, Arvind Gaur, the plays are collectively clubbed as Women Now! Banking on prominent texts, Untitled draws debate from two stories -- Vijaydan Detha’s Nyaari Nyaari Maryada (who also authored the celebrated play Charandas Chor); and Dario Fo’s Medea that further relies on the original play by the Greek playwright Euripedes. Pinky Virani’s eponymous novel is the foundation for the play Bitter Chocolate.
“The plays were first performed ten years ago but subjects like rape and abuse are omnipresent and they’ve always been there, through history,” comments Dubey. She feels that the topicality of plays lend it a universal appeal where even in a Muslim country like Muscat, women and men have come up to her and thanked her for doing them.
The plays hope to evoke a discussion as they examine controversies such as the queen in Untitled who kills her children to spite her cheating husband while Bitter Chocolate attempts to critique the system. Another note is the paradoxical title of Untitled that Dubey feels is because “so many women have no title.” Keeping this in mind, the performances will be followed by discussions with Dubey, Gaur and Virani.