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Maitreyi College girls happy as their play on menstruation gets acceptance

Daag-e-Daaman, the play staged by Abhivyakti, the theatre society of Maitreyi College, with the aim of breaking the taboo around menstruation, overcomes barriers and finds a wider audience.

delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2017 20:01 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
Daag-E-Daman,Abhivyakti,Delhi University
Daag-e-Daaman showcases the restrictions women face during menstruation. (Raajessh Kashyap/ HT Photo )

One still speaks about menstruation in hush-hush tones, and buys sanitary napkins in black plastic bags. To break the taboo around this natural physical phenomenon, Abhivyakti Theatre Society of Maitreyi College, Delhi University, came up with Daag-e-Daaman, a play on menstruation. But they were bogged down when they began sending their entries. That didn’t deter these young theatre artists, who went around spreading awareness about their play.

Trying to break the taboo
“When we decided to take up the subject, even our convener subtly advised us not to go ahead with it. But we knew we had to stage our play on menstruation,” says Priyali Dhingra, a college student. She adds that their play was rejected by various theatre competitions and several societies of Delhi University. “They would refuse it after looking at our synopsis and script, ” she adds.

Convincing wasn’t easy
These organisers were afraid that the play could hurt some people’s sentiments. The students tried convincing the selectors by explaining the context. “In the play, at a point, the goddess is shown with stained clothes. In the end, we also throw a stained cloth on the audience, stating that it is our reality,” explains Urijita Bhardwaj, a student and participant. “Uncivilised Daughters, our last year’s production, won accolades and despite that, we hardly got selected to perform this year. Then we started looking for our own contacts, and as the word spread, we found acceptance,” adds Dhingra.

They were elated when a youth fest — Un-Darr hosted by the NGO Breakthrough — invited them to stage their play. This acceptance is a milestone in their journey.

What does the play say?

The protagonist Laghvi feels that even a goddess is just like a mortal woman. (Raajessh Kashyap/ HT Photo )

About the plot, Malvika Singh, president of the Maitreyi College theatre society, says, “The story is based on widows who live in an ashram and are not allowed to take part in prayers when they’re menstruating. However, Laghvi (one of the widows) participates in the puja and that is the twist in the tale. ”

The actor playing the widow Laghvi actually shaved her head for the performance. (Raajessh Kashyap/ HT Photo )

The bald step
At the end of the play, the authorities punish Laghvi by shaving her head. “To make the character more impactful and realistic, I actually shaved my head for the performance. I kept wearing a wig throughout the play, and took it off when the shaving part comes,” adds Shikha Dimri, who plays the character of Laghvi in the play.

First Published: Apr 08, 2017 19:47 IST