Female performers are no longer shying away from taking gender and sexuality, head on through their performances. And Bengaluru’s Deepika Arwind believes that she’s a part of that tribe.
The 30-year-old theatre practitioner’s devised work No Rest in the Kingdom that deals with the daily hilariousness and annoyances of being a woman in this country and beyond has been performed to packed houses in the city, and ahead of her next show on February 24 at LshVa, she tells us more in a candid chat.
The hour-long piece explores women’s daily negotiations – on the street, in the bus, on a bike or in a car, with a dash of hilarity, while attempting to answer ‘What does being protected mean?’
"As an artist and writer I’ve been amongst people, who despite their progressive views have deeply misogynistic things to say. I’ve explored some of these things in the piece by playing the perpetrators in some cases," she explains, letting us in on it.
Produced by Sandbox Collective and supported by Shoonya Centre for Art and Somatic Practices, Deepika affirms that this is a conversation that needed to be had. "With the play I tackle urban men and women – people from a specific class I suppose, and how they are implicit in some of the aggression towards women. I think it’s especially interesting when young people, especially women, watch it and feel like their concerns are on stage," she says.
The title of the performance itself has a lot to say. In that, "It’s not passe, sentimental or one-dimensional, as it can sometimes be seen as. The kingdom here refers to the patriarch’s kingdom, where there is an awakening, a dialogue and a restlessness. It’s a descriptive, hopeful, title. Hopefully," says Deepika.
Although a student of journalism, theatre has always been her calling. Her repertoire of works draw from the personal, never compromising on the details as seen in her Nobody Sleeps Alone (2013-2014) and A Brief History of Your Hair (March 2016). Her children's play One Dream Too Many was invited to the International Playwright’s Intensive at The Kennedy Centre, Washington DC and the University of Maryland.
"I’m collaborating with a French illustrator on a children’s book. I also want to begin working on a short, new work post May with a couple of dancers and musicians," she says of her plans ahead.
But for her bagful of shows now, she promises that you’ll laugh. And, "One can only hope there is a slight shift, however small and imperceptible it is, in them. That they recognise the moments in which these aggressions play out around them, and don’t brush it away," she says.