Shobhaa De’s short stories come alive in Lockdown Liaisons, a play directed by Lillete Dubey

Lockdown Liaisons will be performed at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Vyalikaval on January 12

author_img Sanath Prasad Published :  04th January 2022 08:36 PM   |   Published :   |  04th January 2022 08:36 PM

Ira Dubey

The lockdown due to the pandemic has left many scars – emotionally, financially, and psychologically. Faced by uncertainty after 2020 and 2021, here are stories that focus on varying degrees of emotions layered with multiple situations created by the lockdown, and enacted through monologues. 

The Bangalore chapter of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI FLO), an industrial organisation for empowering women, is collaborating with Mumbai-based theatre group The Primetime Theatre Company to present Lockdown Liaisons, a collection of five stories written by Shobhaa De, produced and directed by Lillete Dubey. 

Curated by Revathi Raju, chairman, FLO Bengaluru chapter, the anthology, enacted by Dubey, Joy Sengupta and Ira Dubey, explores the different voices and attitudes to the lockdown and its fall out. A couple who is exposed to each other’s true colours during the lockdown, a migrant worker who has to choose between his lover and family as he treks to his village hundreds of miles away, a woman juggling multiple characters and emotions, and a man who cannot deal with his wife’s denial of his sexual needs – the anthalogy offers five different templates of emotions and situations that emerged during the lockdown. 

Inspired by personal life experiences, putting the act together for Sengupta was an ‘enjoyable’ experiment. Theatre practitioner Sengupta is performing a monologue for two plays – Leaving and A Quest Ends, where he plays the role of a migrant worker and banker, respectively. “The lockdown exposed different classes of people to different levels of difficulties. I play the roles of a working class person and an upper class person in the two different plays which are contrasting in nature. I have heavily borrowed inputs from my personal connections  and have improvised using my style ,” says Sengupta, who will also be performing for the first time in Bengaluru after the pandemic. 

However, for Ira, the challenges are multiple. She will be performing two plays –Vodka and No Tonic and A Whiff of Eternity – that come with different shades of characters. “When Shobhaa De approached my mum (Lillete Dubey) and I with the book, the narration of the stories itself was very surreal. However, translating these short stories into a visual experience was quite challenging. The second play of mine is more complicated because I perform an 18-minute solo piece in which I play nine different characters,” says Dubey. 

Raju believes that FLO Bengaluru presents the play as a breather from the hustle and bustle of life. “We stand for networking and have fun by giving a platform to showcase different art forms. Organising theatre plays is one such initiative. The event is also a fundraiser which will benefit social organisations that we have shortlisted and also some which will go to skill-based programmes that we are operating in a village in Mandya,” says Raju. 

(Lockdown Liaisons will be performed at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Vyalikaval on January 12, 7pm)