Audience, actors share the stage for a riveting performance

It’s Cold in Here is inspired by the novella Innocent Erendira... written by Gabriel García Márquez. It takes the fantastical essence of Marquez’s text and makes it revolve around issues of sexual aggression in contemporary context. The visual structure and the written script have evolved out of each other.

Instead of offering a direct textual narrative, the entire scenography has two narratives running parallel -- that of the concept of Marquez’s Erendira and of a lady in the morgue. The language of the whole performance comprises monologues and the characters work as the elements of a giant wheel that moves in a ritualistic pattern.

The performance develops through a series of ritualistic actions which revolve around the narratives of two central characters. The 14-year-old Erendira, the girl who has been forced into sex trade by her grandmother, and a nameless girl lying on the stretcher in a morgue, who has been raped, tortured, murdered and is awaiting burial.

The play begins with the monologue of the girl on the stretcher who recollects the pain of how her body has been violated. From the whining soliloquy of the grandmother we gather how her glorious world came crashing down, due to the mishap caused by Erendira, who accidently burns down their ancestral mansion with a candle.

Director, Deepan Sivarman says, “It’s Cold in Here is an attempt to address the ongoing sexual violence against wom­en in India, which I think is the most painful sore of our society. Hence, ‘the society’ is invited to witness Marquez’s heart-wrenching tale Innocent Erendira, set in a morgue where a girl’s violated and mutilated body is awaiting the final rites. No attempt has been made to give away a complete narrative of Marquez’s novella. It’s only repeats the central theme, the violation of female body over and over again through choreographic actions, metaphorical objects and monologues which evoke a ritualistic disposition in
the performance.”

The most important feature is how the director depicted the horrors. People joined the actors and became a part of the play. Erendira lies in the morgue with nurses, the audience stands in the same dark room. To heighten the moment, the audience even gets to smell the cloying odour of chloroform in the morgue. Surrounding the dead, the audience sips wine, as in a funeral parlour before following the characters to different rooms.

Music scores were imp­romptu, and a DJ took position behind the scene singing and playing along with the scenes.

Performance Studies Collective is a Delhi-based performance art and studies gathering, pan-Indian in scope and experimental in character. The group comprises musicians, dancers, writers, actors, directors and academicians from across the country. The aim of the group is to critically engage in the field of performance studies, writing on performances, producing socially and spatially engaging acts which cross the borders of various art streams.

Sivaraman, is the founding artistic director of Oxygen Theatre Company based in Kerala. He served as the artistic director of International Theatre Festival Kerala 2014 edition and as a jury member of International Theatre Festival M. Art Connect Mogilev, Belarus and Devine Comedy Festival (Boska Komedia) Krakow, Poland. He is presently an Associate Professor and Dy. Dean at School of Culture and Creative
Expressions, Ambedkar University, Delhi.

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