Mistress of mayhem: Maya Krishna Rao on the idea behind her latest show, Loose Woman
Maya Krishna Rao is one of the most acclaimed solo theatre performers in the country, who is known for presenting shows that mostly reflect the society we live in. Her latest show, titled Loose Woman, is no different, one that celebrates disorder and anarchy in a unique way.
“I think a lot of women, certainly of my generation, find it really exciting to think that there is a certain looseness in us. And it is expressed in different ways, not only when you are on your own, but also with each other and with the opposite sex,” says Maya, adding, “There’s also looseness in relation to music, in relation to who you thought you were and how other people see you.”
Maya is known for pieces that are not just entertaining but also engaging as well. In recent years, she has staged two solo protest theatre pieces —Walk, in response to the 2012 Delhi gang rape, and Not in My Name, titled after the movement that it supported. We caught up with the artiste before her performance at the ongoing March Dance Festival where she talked about the story of Loose Woman and her thoughts on performing in Chennai. Excerpts:
How did the idea for Loose Woman come about?
The two words — ‘loose woman’ — came out of my head while I was improvising. At the end, I looked at my colleague, the musician, who asked, “Why aren’t we building a show around this? It seems exciting enough.” So that really was the start of making this show,” In fact, Maya was attempting to revive an old show called A Deep Fried Jam, which was made in 2002, “but in trying to revive it, as it usually happens, you start making new things. So, A Deep Fried Jam got largely left behind, as a new show started getting built, which is Loose Woman.”
What are the various challenges you faced while preparing for this show?
The excitement is in the term itself. Loose or loosu is an off-the-cuff word that is used to refer to women in certain social circles. You may not even say that she is a loose woman, but you might still say, ‘oh she is loosu heh! or there is a looseness in her’. It’s somewhere intended even if the word is not used, and we know what all the resonances of the word are when it is used. There was also the challenge of improvising along with the musician. My performances depend a lot on the music. I may talk to the musician, and ask them to change track — like, ‘can we repeat and then make it sound more like an aalaap’ — so I do give them things to think about and respond to.
What are your thoughts on performing at the March Dance Festival?
Loose Woman seems to be living up to her name and tradition. She was first conceptualised and performed in a black box as a theatre piece, and then subsequently, as a visual art project in the Serendipity Arts Festival, and then later on a proscenium stage. Now, coming to a dance festival is very exciting. I am very curious to know how Loose Woman will be perceived here. I am also looking forward to the conversation with the audience the next day (March 16).
What’s your take on the audience for performing arts in Chennai?
I have very fond memories of Museum Theatre. I have always seen a warm and a packed audience, one that wants to carry on the conversation, way after the show has the ended!
March 15. At Goethe-Institut. 7 pm. Entry at Rs. 200. Details: 99624-86721.