For the sake of love and art
Stop Kiss is an initiative by The Actor’s Truth, and is part of the third edition of the Antarang Theatre Festival.Updated: Jan 15, 2020 19:53 IST
At the heart of the play Stop Kiss, is a traditional love story about two women who fall in love, and how society perceives them. Written by American playwright and writer Diana Son, and adapted and directed for an Indian audience by Dipika Pandey, Stop Kiss is an initiative by The Actor’s Truth, and is part of the third edition of the Antarang Theatre Festival.
Acting coach and curator of the fest, Saurabh Sachdeva, says it is about celebrating love as we just marked 50 years of Pride (2019 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City, USA, in June, 1969, and are often cited as the beginning of the LGBTQ+ rights movement).
“This is the third season of Antarang where we have tried to reflect on the problems faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and gender issues,” Sachdeva says, adding, “Students were enacting scenes that dealt with these issues, and while some of them were being practised during rehearsals, I thought why not do an entire play that talks about gender.”
In December, under Antarang itself, The Actor’s Truth produced playwright Vijay Tendulkar’s Khamosh Adalat Jaari Hai, a drama about a woman’s desires and how she is controlled by society. “I am happy to produce these plays because of the times we are in. They are quite relevant,” he says.
The festival also aims at addressing other issues such as female foeticide, child abuse, molestation, marital rape and homophobia. At the same time, it talks about subjects like mental illness, which are often shoved under the carpet.
When asked why is it that the festival is staging these plays erratically instead of them taking place simultaneously, Sachdeva says, it is difficult to get sponsors. “We have to generate money to create plays. There are many cinema halls but there are not many theatres available around the city to stage plays,” he says.
Dipika Pandey, the director of the play, who has also directed a few short plays before, says it’s her first full-length play. “It is important to have festivals like these. Stop Kiss is based on things happening around us, and it’s our way of supporting a cause. Our art is all we’ve got,” Pandey signs off.