Tales of partition, retold on stage
Stories of pain and trauma from the period find relevance in today's times in this play
The opening sequence of Posheeda is that of a mound of the dead, with the azaan and Ek Onkar playing in the background. It's a visual that is hard to forget with its layered context. The play, by Kirdaar Arts Foundation, is all about imagery and symbolism. Directed by Kiran Pavaskar, Posheeda (Urdu for invisible) is an adaptation of three stories from the book, Kitne Hindustan.
Pavaskar had her first brush with it when thespian Shaili Sathyu handed it to her last year. She realised that these tales of trauma and separation have remained relevant over time. A period of self-study and research followed, after which Posheeda was born as a workshop-cum-production in Mumbai. The process of adapting the stories often involved new imagined characters, rewriting and an attempt to make it more approachable than the original Hindi narrative. In its ninth show now, as in each before this, there's something new. "Every performance has a new character or a new thought. This time, half the cast is new," Pavaskar reveals adding that a few segments of the script have also been amplified as they resonate with the ongoing anti-CAA and NRC protests around the country. "We have faced this during Partition. We are doing the same things again. There are things I want to say, and theatre is my medium," says the 25-year-old.
With a background in movement theatre, Pavaskar draws from a variety of forms including biomechanics and kalaripayattu. The visuals, she explains, are her strength. The script, on the other hand, focuses on the emotion over the issue. Thus, personal tales of loss and trauma become quickly relevant for today.
At the end of the day, Pavaskar dreams of making a small change, if any, through these stories and visuals. "I want to give people something to chew on. If they go back with questions, I have been successful," she says.
ON December 29, 5 pm
AT Prithvi House, 20, Janki Kutir, Juhu
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