Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sita's Daughters at Natarani on the Occassion of Women's Day

When I was in college, I had the good fortune of watching a Bharatnatyam performance by Mrinalini Sarabhai and I was entranced.

Inspite of living in Ahmedabad for almost 2 years and visiting Natarani frequently for events, I had never actually been to a performance by Mallika Sarabhai as we never seemed to be in town when the really interesting events took place.

Given that we were in town yesterday, and the performance in honour of Womens day was Mallika Sarabhai's extremely renowned play "Sita's Daughters", I knew we just HAD to attend.

The script is wonderful. It covers 9 stories featuring women across the ages and the navarasas (9 rasas) of human emotion that are captured in Indian Classical Dance as outlined in the Natyashastra.

The performance was brilliant. Minimalistic props, a music troupe dressed in black, but on stage blending into the background and providing the perfect accompaniment, some dance, some drama, some comedy and audience interaction. This play has been performed over 600 times in Hindi, English and Gujarati, across the globe for various audiences. And while the core script remains the same, the details and references to current news (regarding oppressed women) has been constantly updated across the decades.

Sita's Daughters is not just about women who have been oppressed, its about oppressed women  standing up for themselves and that is what makes them Sita's daughters in this script co-authored by Mallika Sarabhai and John Martin

This is a play, I would definitely recommend watching, if you get the opportunity.

As an aside, the noise from the new road constructed behind the Natarani Amphitheatre did not disturb us too much yesterday, but the noise levels have definitely increased.

The play was put up as part of a 3 day cultural program promoting awareness on Womens' Issues for Womens Day, so it started out with a panel discussion by some of the other performers and artistes of this event.