Smiling visage that hides agony

REAL WORLD

A few unknown women, together in a room, may not easily connect with each other but when they do, they share an inexplicable bond.

This happened in Amma’s life, who decided to travel to London to see her daughter Amita. She invites many women to her house. It is in this space all these women start talking, gradually revealing secrets to each other. Be it about sexual abuse, domestic violence, sexual perversions or the loss of loved ones.

The play Baawre Mann Ke Sapne recently staged at the National School of Drama’s 16th Bharat Rang Mahotsav by the Kolkata-based theatre group, The Creative Arts, weaves together different stories of these women through different incidents and life experiences. The focal point is Amma who forces these women to reveal the immense pain and anger they had been hiding behind the masks.

As the play proceeds the women draw strength from each other, finding cathartic relief as well as solutions and the will to change their lives. Their stories touch upon subjects like caste, hierarchy, physical and emotional violence, dreams and nightmares, sexuality  and the search for self-identity.

The project is unique because it uses theatre as therapy with homemakers from middle and upper middle class stratas. “The ‘non-actors’ have actually gone through rigorous training in disciplines of time, space and body. They have had sessions on different aspects with professionals,” says Ramanjit Kaur, director of the play. 

“I personally feel that the middle and the upper middle class women are the most underprivileged in terms of not having a voice. But we just smile silently. Silence, emerging from false self-esteem, pride, fear of rejection, ridicule and social acceptance . During the creative process we looked into two aspects – theatre as an art form and theatre as therapy,” she says.

The play is largely influenced by the experiences Ramanjit herself went through in the last one year. “The year has been that of bonding, sharing, emoting, analysing, but most of all exhilarating and rejuvenating. The performance is inspired by this journey of thoughts and is forever evolving with stories ranging over tradition, scepticism, collective responsibilities and individual choice,” says Ramanjit.

Adding life to Ramanjit’s script was the set design by Sanchayan Ghosh, and lights by Daulat Vaid and Jon.

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