A new play reflects on the dark side of the web: cybersex trafficking
It is the age of the world wide web that’s networked by a colony of black holes. The lexicon of the dark web includes innocuous words — supernova, pizza, candy — stuff that reminds one of childhood days, when everything seemed harmless. The paradox though, is the fact that it is these same words that are used as masquerading tools by the wolves of cybersex trafficking. What lies beyond the obvious on the Internet, is the network of the black holes, that’s sucking innumerable innocent lives. The new play #supernova by Indian Ensemble delves deeper into this ditch, attempting to bring to stage the unfathomable world of cybersex trafficking.
Commissioned by the Human Trade Network in Freiburg, #supernova is a Hindi-Bhojpuri play (with English subtitles), written by Mumbai-based playwright Rahul Rai and directed by Abhishek Majumdar. The story is about #supernova, a young boy who is trafficked from eastern Uttar Pradesh and is sold in Dubai. #supernova — his online profile — suggests to his clientele that he is a good performer in the sex trade. While he gets a good number of clients, his father is looking for him desperately. Amidst all this, one of his clients falls in love with him. Enacted by Avneesh Mishra and Sandeep Shikhar, the play is an intense presentation of what the dark web deals in. “It is a global topic. Initially, the idea was to write
about two brothers — taxi drivers in Dubai, but with every draft, the idea developed and we (Abhishek and I) moved in the direction of exploring the subject of cybersex trafficking,” explains Rahul. The current script is the seventh draft penned by Rahul.
The script is acutely insinuated. In contrast, the props and set design incline towards minimalism with use of interactive technology. “We have developed a social media platform that will be active during the play and the audience has a choice to participate or not,” says
Vandana Menon, in-charge of projection and interactive technology. This platform mimics an exchange on the dark web. In addition, metaphorical images of the theme will be projected on four LCD screens that mark the performance space. This is the first time that Abhishek has directed a play that will have audiences sit on all four sides and the content is for those above 18 only. For English speakers subtitles will be projected on screens put up next to the stage.
At Goethe Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Indira Nagar. June 3 and 4, 3.30 and 7.30 pm.
Tickets (Rs 300) on bookmyshow.com