Behind the kitchen walls

Solo act

Behind the kitchen walls

Kitchen Poems’, a solo performance by Padmavati Rao will be held on January 23 at Ranga Shankara.

It is a performance of Dhiruben Patel’s poems, strung together to take audiences on a journey through a woman’s changing perspectives of life as she journeys on from childhood to old age with her life in the kitchen.

As she says in one of her poems, she always has a prayer in her heart when she cooks which is why every meal is a success and her home a happy place. She talks of the world outside her home, of progress, of technology and Gandhiji too. Of 100 poems, 60 plus poems are performed as a theatrical piece by Padmavati Rao.

While remaining relevant to today’s context and tomorrow’s possibilities, it holds within it, nostalgia through words and music, songs rendered live and invites one to oneself on what it means to live and love while remaining rooted in the practicalities of life. Above all, it is about men getting in touch with the nurturing feminine self within and women with the strength and significance they are capable of no matter how insignificant they might feel at times.

The play is directed by Naushil Mehta and produced by the Aantarya Film and Theatre House founded by Padmavati Rao.

Padmavati Rao has worked as an actor, writer, translator and director in theatre and films for the last three decades. Some of the notable projects she has worked on are Shankar Nag’s ‘Malgudi Days’, Girish Karnad’s ‘Nagamandala’ and ‘Ondanondu Kaladalli’, MS Sathyu’s ‘Kayar’, B Jayashree’s ‘Agnipatha’, Mahesh Dattani and Alyque Padamsee’s ‘Final Solutions’, Mansur Khan's ‘Umberto’ and Subhash Ghai’s ‘Pardes’. She has been actively involved in story telling and teacher training. She has to her credit as director of short films like ‘Women Fast Forward’ (screened in 91 countries), ‘I Can Do it’, ‘Under One’ Sky’ and ‘Non Stick’.

Dhiruben Patel is a renowned writer who has been awarded the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ twice over. She is best known for her stories for children and scripts for films like ‘Bhavni Bhavai’. A woman way beyond her time she brings to her work a bold sense of humour and womanhood in all its aspects.  

Naushil Mehta is a writer who prefers to write in Gujarati but also writes plays in English and Hindi. He has directed ‘Patra Mitro’ (Gujarati) ‘Tokhaar’ (Gujarati) ‘Rang Birangi’ (Hindi) and ‘A Suitable Bride’ (English). He considers himself a very dear friend of Dhiruben Patel.

Aantarya Film and Theatre House has been involved in the presentation of plays for children and this is its first production for young people and adults. ‘Kitchen Poems’ has received distinctive reviews recently.

It has been the line producer for plays like ‘Making A Man of An Ass’, ‘The Devil’s Tree’, ‘Tamta Ramta’ (a play for toddlers) and ‘Pandhyada Padakka Aadlu Pedakka’ (a puppet show using life size puppets) which were received well by audiences.

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