Breaking down matters of the mind

Updated: Jan 13, 2019, 11:55 IST | A Correspondent | Mumbai

A new solo performance hopes to normalise conversations around mental health

Some struggles are often misconstrued, especially those that take place inside the head. We tend to confuse an unstable mind with madness, and the moment we do that, we attach some kind of stigma around it, says theatre director and actor Akshay Gandhi.

Fuelled by the need to open up conversations around mental well-being, Gandhi has directed a new solo performance, Burn My Diaries. Written and performed by actor Shweta Desai, the show is based on months of investigation and research. Both Gandhi and Desai interviewed friends battling mental health, as well as psychiatrists and counsellors, to understand the "mechanics of the mind".

Akshay Gandhi
Akshay Gandhi

During the hour-long performance, there is a scene where Desai plays nearly 15 characters — all visitors to a psychiatrist's clinic — who share tales of their affliction. The owner of a 24-storey structure for instance, says he can't sleep well at night, a domestic help talks about how "touch" makes her uncomfortable, or a solider back from war, reveals being haunted by sounds. This suffering is very human, but unfortunately popular narratives like cinema, have taken the liberty to paint a morbid picture of an unstable person, says Desai. "The composition of the performance instigates the performer as well as audience to explore the divisions of the mind and allow them to navigate through them," he adds.

Where: Studio Tamaasha Aram Nagar Part 2, Versova
Entry: Rs 300
To book:

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