Are we really powerful to absorb all our pain, anxiety and solitude? Is the ‘self’ being camouflaged under the mask of an outgoing public identity. To put it simply, is the ‘Self’ being drowned by the ‘Selfie’ ? The crowd who had gathered to spectate Arpita Dhagat’s performance were awe-struck and had their hearts in their mouth when Dhagat, as part of her performance, spewed a chunk of burger out from her mouth. And she didn’t stop with that…the audience was zapped as she emptied a whole 750 ml soft drink bottle right over her head.
All of these is not without a reason. Arpita, a National School of Drama alumni, is presenting a theatrical installation and three performances as part of her research fellowship. The three day event is happening at the popular Amdavad Ni Gufa. Her installation work, titled ‘The Womb Story’ is an engaging installation mixed with elements of theatre wherein she creatively employs the structure of ‘Gufa’ as a womb. It is a rare occasion where appreciators can be inside ‘Gufa’ for a surreal experience. The entire ambiance is lifted by visual display of home-makers photos that are titled as ‘Kitchen Essay’.
Every evening Arpita has chosen to perform mono acts titled ‘Selfie’, ‘Mom’ and ‘Sorry’. On the inaugural day Arpita set the stage on fire, by putting across a novel and redolent theatrical expression of her perception of the ‘Selfie’ culture. Her delivery was top notch, in expressing the emotional catharsis with a blend of Navrasas in a highly impactful manner. A lot of us, if not all of us, spend their lives in moving away from ‘self’ rather than becoming accepting of the ‘self’. And yet at various stages of life, we imbibe an image, which is mostly the influence of prevalent popular culture of that time. “When one sees oneself, is it a mirror image or a perceived imagery?”, is the question with which Dhagat initiates her performance. And must say in a very moving and disturbing way she could successfully portray the unpleasantness of thriving in false self-imagery. It is one of those rare performances that mixes satire and disgust to push the viewer towards self exploration !
The entire effort is to portray ‘How applied theater can work as an aid for mental health’. During this 3 day event, through the display of aesthetically astounding installation works Dhagat is actually narrating the suppression of a middle-aged homemaker, who constantly denies her self in front of familial priorities. She faces betrayal, withdrawals but still, she shimmers and beams outside. The darkness within, which goes unnoticed, the multifaceted being that she becomes to get loved by the most hated person in the room, is what Arpita aims to cure, through theatre.
Team Creative Yatra was present to experience this unique experiential narrative. Ahmedabadis still have 24th & 25th December to relish her highly engaging upcoming acts ‘Sorry’ & ‘Mom’. And everyday between 4pm to 7pm the installation is open for viewing.
If you are one of those, looking for a creative kick, here’s where you should be heading. Highly Recommended.
Photographs : Trusha Trivedi
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