A play with nine stories of nine transgenders, ‘Nava’, will be staged at Ranga Shankara, on May 1.
The play was put together through a devising process with nine transgender women from the Aravani Art Project.
Sharanya Ramprakash, director of the play, says, “I have known these women for a while. For me the process started with the thought of a group of marginalised people who have been deliberately and willfully kept away from the mainstream stage, and when they enter the stage, what should their stories be? They understood performance in many diverse ways, which helped with the process of devising the play.” The play doesn’t talk about transpeople as victims but celebrates their lives. She adds, “We arrived at this format through a lot of experimentation and devising. It just so happened that we used the idea of the ‘navarasas’, an upper-caste moral idea of emotions.”
The play aims to tell stories of nine people, all of which overturn the idea of the ‘navarasa’. The performers sing, dance, laugh, and defy the notions of ‘navarasa’ and who can be its ‘nayakis’. For example: Chandri’s ‘adhbuta’ is about how she wore a sari for the first time. Shanti turns over the understanding of ‘bhibatsa’ with the story of how she crawled through a sewage pipe yet doesn’t detest it and feels clean on the other side.
The 75-minute long play is in Kannada with subtitles in English, and a few portions in Tamil.
Play at Ranga Shankara, on May 1, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm. Tickets available online.