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A stage for bayan

Updated on: 05 March,2022 08:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sukanya Datta |

Watch, laugh and introspect as an all-woman cast of actors takes you through an oestrogen-filled evening

A stage for bayan

Stills from Santa’s Little Call Girls, one of the highlights of Bayan

In a world where women still have to fight to speak their minds and be heard, it’s fitting that the Turkish word for females is ‘bayan’ — meaning ‘expression’ in Hindi. Director Akarsh Khurana remembers spotting the word plastered across women’s washrooms on a visit to Turkey. “So, I thought it would be a nice name for a piece where women are expressing themselves,” he tells us, ahead of the staging of Akvarious Productions’ upcoming show titled — no prizes for guessing — Bayan.

Led by an all-woman cast of Astha Arora, Dilshad Edibam Khurana, Preetika Chawla, Prerna Chawla, Shikha Talsania, Rohini Ramnathan and Tahira Nath Krishnan, the production will aptly come to life on International Women’s Day. Bayan, which comprises a series of short, funny pieces, was conceived in 2015, when the theatre company completed 15 years. “We were doing a series of fringe pieces that have simpler set-ups, and took place across Prithvi Theatre and Prithvi House. We had previously done a piece called Santa’s Little Call Girls, also by an all-women cast, which had done really well, and that prompted the idea,” Khurana recollects.

From marriage to fashion, Tuesday’s production will feature a range of themes that promise to tickle the viewers’ funny bone, and their conscience. It will kick off with Mrs Nath Krishnan, an introductory piece featuring a woman who gets the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd for the first time. “She’s both excited and happy, but also acting strange as she’s not done this before. Then there’s I Can Tell Your Handbag is Fake, which revolves around three women travelling via Delhi Metro and chatting about each other’s handbags. It’s a satire in terms of fashion consciousness, and keeping up with trends and looks,” Khurana notes.

Akarsh Khurana
Akarsh Khurana

The production, which has completed over 25 shows, will include The Tale of Two Typewriters, a nostalgic throwback to the 1990s wherein two best friends who join a typewriting class near Bandra station start falling for the same boy. Also in the mix is a monologue by Arora, about a girl who enters an arranged marriage. “It’s a beautiful piece about navigating the dichotomy of the arranged marriage setup versus wanting to actually be in love with her partner for the rest of her life,” Khurana reveals. And of course, there’s Santa’s Little Call Girls, which sparked off Bayan. In it, a group of four women who work at a call centre will take the stage. “It’s an out-and-out comedy based on the life of these girls who have a terrible boss. They are kind of prisoners in a system and want to break out, but they are also doing the job because they want better lives. However, the [odd] hours mean they can’t have that life — so, it’s that kind of a dilemma,” explains Khurana.

On: March 8, 6.30 pm
At: Prithvi House, Juhu.
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Cost: Rs 200

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