Make way for the black sheep
In a solo show, the protagonist talks sex and accidental nudes
Either women who talk about sex are taken lightly or the talk itself must come laced with humour," says thespian Saloni Shukla, who decided it was the time to take matters into her own hands. It was in November this year that she premiered her irreverent solo show, Black Sheep 2.0, under her company Verite Productions. "The name draws from the numerous times I've been called that and 2.0 because, just when you think you are the black sheep of the family, you go one step ahead," she says.
"I hate weddings. I hate family events. I hate large crowds. I hate these aunties sitting behind me waiting to spot that one black sheep and gossip endlessly about them" as the opening lines of the performance go, 34-year-old Shukla is exasperated and with it comes honesty that is at times brazen and at others comical. The story is that of an erotica writer in her early thirties and draws considerably from the actor's own life — a tussle between her own ideas and societal norms.
So, there's the case of an accidental nude sent and the hilarity and chaos that follows. There are also recurrent aunties doling out unsolicited advice, one that actually results in a showdown and becomes an important plot point. There are also moments of warmth, of familial bonding and separation. "It is basically everything that a woman in her thirties in India experiences," Shukla explains.
Is the time ripe for an Indian Fleabag? Shukla is quick to tell us that she has heard such comparisons and can't help but admitting that the series was an inspiration. "It is the story of a woman in the same age bracket and milieu with a similar set of concerns at the end of the day," she explains, adding that the context is different. Though set in an unnamed place, Shukla believes the performance is rooted in Mumbai where she has spent most of her life. In its second show, Black Sheep 2.0 has added new scenarios and upgraded text. However, it keeps to its hopeful tone. "I want to tell people that even for the black sheep, things often do get better," she says.
ON December 26, 7 pm
AT Prithvi House, Juhu Church Road, Juhu.
Cost Rs 150
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