KathaSiyah’s new play highlights how medical science is discriminatory towards women
The Amazing Flabby-Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales! deals with the archaic terms and ideas that medical science is replete with
When theatre personality Ayesha Susan Thomas began researching for her new play, she went through Indian forensic medicine textbooks and found that the language used to describe female bodies was shocking. “I found a chapter on sexual offences, which describes the difference between a ‘true’ virgin and a ‘false’ virgin, and how the size of women’s breasts can determine their sexual histories,” she tells us. This is what led to the tongue-in-cheek name of her new production, The Amazing Flabby-Breasted Virgin & Other Sordid Tales! that deals with the archaic terms and ideas that medical science is replete with in the present day and how these systemic issues affect women.
The idea came to her when she read an article by Mumbai-based gynecologist Suchitra Dalvie. “She had written about her experience as a young medical student following a curriculum that was so outdated and inaccurate. Her article was my introduction to the subject. I started writing the play after that,” she says, adding that she interviewed doctors and medical students for her research. The play takes a satirical and comedic look at the topic even though the subject matter is serious. While it was initially written only for stage, Ayesha re-wrote the whole script for the online medium to adapt to the pandemic.
The 75-minute digital performance starts with an interactive welcome on Zoom, and then the viewers are guided to another website where they are prompted to play a game related to the topic. Post that, back on Zoom, there is a performance by three artistes — Chandini Naik, Freya Kothari and Ayesha herself — who will portray a series of characters. Combining material from her interviews, and research, the script deftly takes us through the subject matter in a humorous way. The performance is experimental and non-traditional. It does not have a linear plotline, but uses images, poetry and mono-logues to explore questions about how we view the human body. “I have played with elements of documentary theatre and verbatim theatre,” Ayesha tells us. The production has a pay-what-you-feel-like model, as the team wanted to make it as accessible as possible. So viewers can buy tickets for an amount they are comfortable with.
February 4 - 6. Details: Online