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The play about rape the audience tried to stop

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Sep 23, 2016 15:47 IST
Nidhi Choksi
Nidhi Choksi
Hindustan Times
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A still from a previous staging on Extremities in Bengaluru(PHOTO COURTESY: DHANLAXMI GOYAL )

A 1982 off Broadway play, Extremities, on rape, is just as relevant today. After an Indian adaptation and some extreme reactions in Bengaluru, it now opens in Mumbai

You have goosebumps when you hear Amitabh Bachchan say, “A no means a no,” in his signature baritone, in the recently released movie, Pink. It gets you thinking about the consistently relevant topic of crime against women. Now, Extremities, an English play directed by Bengaluru-based Dhanlaxmi Goyal of Dreamscope Theatre (32) is set to premiere in the city.

Also read: Gender Bender: How India discovered role reversal through pop culture

The play deals with the various ways society perceives rape. In it, a young woman, Marjorie, is attacked in her home by a man, Raul. She manages to get the better of him, tying him up in her fireplace. When her roommates get home, they voice different opinions on the situation. They also turn against each other due to a psychological game Raul plays. “The idea is to recreate the society, and its different viewpoints. Raul represents the assaulter who tries to manipulate the situation in his favour,” says Goyal.

A still from a previous staging on Extremities in Bengaluru. (PHOTO COURTESY: DHANLAXMI GOYAL )

The play is based on a script written by American playwright and screenwriter William Mastrosimone, who has worked with directors like Martin Scorsese and Stephen Spielberg in the past. First performed off Broadway in 1982, it was staged in Bengaluru six years ago with a local cast. “It received extreme reactions. People were so moved that they got up and tried to stop the play. Someone even slapped the male lead,” says Goyal. She adds, “It’s more about the reactions to the act than the crime itself. It makes you think about what happens when someone is provoked and whether violence is the answer.”

For her research, Goyal spoke to rape victims and lawyers. It threw up some surprising realisations. “More often than not, men support victims to show their knight-in-shining-armour image, while women support the rapist. They think the women called for it or deserved it,” says Goyal.

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Through the play, she hopes to get the audience thinking. “I’m not here to tell you what’s right or wrong. My job is to generate some response from the audience who will go back thinking instead of just eating popcorn and enjoying a night out.”

Dreamscope Theatre’s team. (PHOTO COURTESY: DHANLAXMI GOYAL)

Don’t miss: Extremities will be staged at two venues

1) When: September 23, 8pm; At: CLAP Center, opp Infinity Mall, Malad (W); Tickets: Rs150

2) When: September 25, 8pm; At: The Hive, Huma Mansion, off Union Park, Khar (W); Tickets: Rs150 on