Cleaning up my closet!

I Identify As... A Peek into the Closet explores the profound and complex facets of human experience

Rupam Jain Published :  08th December 2023 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  08th December 2023 12:00 AM
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Meet Sahayam, A 60-year-old trans person, and a prison inmate, also suffering from PTSD and Alzheimer’s. One would think that’s traumatic enough, but wait until you watch the play I Identify As... A Peek into the Closet as it opens up many layers of an individual, compelling you to think, and think harder as the plot progresses.

Written and directed by Rayyan Thenmalaikhan, and co-directed by Divagar Ravi, Sahayam’s story will make you wonder why they (preferred pronoun) landed up in a prison! Letting us in on the storyline, the writer-director tells us, “Sahayam finds themself in the company of three unique souls — Maria, a troubled teenager ensnared by addiction; Antony, whose explosive disorder tears him away from reality; and Sheela, who’s wrestling with a Messiah Complex and struggling through turbulent mood swings. Together, this unlikely quartet joins a therapy session led by an intern who’s as uncertain about their past and actions as they are with their gender and identities.”

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Based on Viktor Frankl’s theory of The Delusion of Reprieve, I Identify As... delves into a world of crisis, substance abuse, and dark humour, a play that explores the profound and complex facets of the human experience.

“In India, if a trans person identifies as a female, she will still be thrown into the men’s cell, and the experience is horrible, to say the least. The story shows how the Indian jail system works, amongst other things,” says Rayyan, who wrote this play after reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, in which the author tries to figure out why he survives the Holocaust while everybody around him commits suicide.

“I got an idea to write a play based on the concept of delusion of retrieve — for example, the false hope we get before receiving our answer sheets! Although we know that we will fail, we still hope that we might pass. I think everyone goes through this experience, in various situations. In my story, every inmate feels a miracle might happen and they will be saved,” Rayyan shares. But will they be saved?

Tickets at Rs 300. December 9, 4 pm & 
7 pm. At Medai – The Stage, Alwarpet.

Email: rupam@newindianexpress.com
X: @rupsjain

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