The grief of Kamala and Sylvia

Updated: Oct 06, 2019, 07:53 IST | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | Mumbai

A performance that blends theatre and poetry celebrates the last works of two stellar poetesses plagued by loneliness

Meeta Bagwe plays Das
Meeta Bagwe plays Das

In the days before her death, poet Sylvia Plath's works were testimony to the loneliness that plagued her. In poems from the collection Ariel, she makes verse and death inseparable. These works, along with the last few poems written by Indian writer Kamala Das just six months before her death in 2009, have been selected for a poetic play. The hybrid format blurs the lines between poetry and theatre.

Director Omkar Bhatkar says, "Both came to be regarded as confessional poets for their style, but what appealed to me was how their writing consisted of vivid descriptions of pain, menstruation, a woman trapped in a man's world and the never-ending search for love, physical intimacy and most importantly, death."

Sharmila Valsekar Kadne plays Plath

Bhatkar observes how Plath's poems depict her despair, driven to madness by a domineering father, an unfaithful husband and the demands that came with motherhood. On the other hand, Das, through her poetry tried to give voice to a generation of women who were confined to their homes, and considered a commodity to be exchanged through marriage. In her poems, they were portrayed as women with desires. Incidentally, both writers also attempted sketching in their last few years; the play projects this along with a few other rare pictures from their lives.

The play begins with Das' poetry performed by Meeta Bagwe in conversation with Suresh Kohli (Abhishek Banerji). "Here we have two disparate voices of friends—both of whom turned to poetry in their moments of anxiousness. This will be blended with Plath's poetry, performed by Sharmila Velaskar Kadne," adds Bhatkar. The music is created by Sheldon Mascarenhas and a couple of poems are rendered into songs by Sarita Manchanda.

When: Saturday, October 12, 7.30 PM
Where: St. Andrews Center for Philosophy and Performing Arts, St. Dominic Road, Bandra.
Entry: Rs 250 onwards
To book:

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