A Play for Women’s Rising

Hindi translation of the Vagina Monologues aims to propagate women empowerment in the city through hard-hitting real life stories
Hindustan Times | By Chetna Dua
UPDATED ON JAN 02, 2013 01:59 AM IST

The city is broiling with anger against the recent gangrape in a moving bus and the protests and candle marches are a proof of the same. In an attempt to spread awareness about female sexuality, a Mumbai-based theatre group — Poor Box Productions —will be enacting the Hindi translation of the play Vagina Monologues in the city this week. “Women’s empowerment is deeply connected to their sexuality,” responds American playwright Eve Ensler in an email interview. Ensler, who is deeply moved by the recent gangrape incident, will be in the city to launch One Billion Rising — an initiative to stop violence against women around the world.

Though the original English play is being performed by this production house for the last 10 years, the Hindi version will have its first ever show in the Capital. “It took us two years to translate the play in Hindi as we had to be very careful about the nuances,” says Kaizad Kotwal, co-director of the play. “A recent research by The United Nations states that 1 in 3 women are beaten or raped during their lifetime. That is more than one billion women living on the planet today. If we have to reach a wider audience and make a deeper impact, we need to perform the play in local languages,” he emphasises. Having performed the play for the women from bastis — chaiwaalis (tea vendors), sweepers and maids in Mumbai, the group is now ready to experiment in Delhi and other cities.“Interestingly, these women got all the nuances of the play and were very expressive. It’s a great way of sex education,” adds Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal, co-director and actor.

After the performance in Delhi this week, the Hindi play will be performed in Lucknow next week — after the two-year long ban on staging the play that has been lifted.

“We are also planning to translate it in Gujarati and other regional languages,” Kotwal signs off. What is Vagina Monologues? Written by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler (right) in 1996 to celebrate the Vagina, the purpose of the play changed from a celebration of femininity to a movement to stop violence against women in 1998. The play is based on interviews with 200 women about sex, relationships, and violence against women. The interviews began as casual conversations with her friends, who then brought up anecdotes they had been told by other friends. Every year, a new monologue is added to highlight a current issue affecting women.

Actors’ take on the Delhi gangrape

Protests are not enough anymore. The mindset of society needs to change. We are in 2013 and our films are getting more regressive than everDILNAZ IRANI, 30 The recent gangrape is the saddest incident in the history of India. But thankfully, the media has picked it up and created awareness

Dolly Thakore, 59

I believe that every woman has the right to wear what she wants and go about her daily chores without being molested


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