A woman’s secrets are let out of the bag

MADHAVI SHIVAPRASAD

Evidently a metaphor for the woman’s mind, Vanity Bag sets out to examine the sensitive chords that weave her life.
Photo: Karan Ananth

The challenging task of physically translating Vaidehi’s poignant poetic images has been well accomplished by the director

On stage, a very noticeable gigantic vanity bag hangs from an unseen hook. “Vanity baginalli kai haki noduvudu yendigu uchitavalla purushare,” (Going through the contents of a woman’s vanity bag is never an excusable act) the female actors of the play forewarn any prospective intruder, gingerly opening windows of embellished flowers on the bag. Then, emerging out of the bag itself, they proudly begin singing of hidden secrets.

Poetic images

Directed by Mangala N., the play Vanity Bag was performed by Sanchari theatre at Seva Sadan here recently. It was a well-knit medley of 18 poems by Kannada writer Vaidehi, best known for her short story Gulabi Talkies, made into a film by Girish Kasaravalli.

The challenging task of translating Vaidehi’s poignant poetic images to stage has been well accomplished. Vaidehi’s poems were mostly sung as part of the dialogue, communicating the intended emotion far better than words. One realises the striking lyricism of the poet’s verses, adding a new dimension to understanding her works.

Particularly skilful was the rendering of the poem Avala Uyilu (Her will), in which a grandmother asks her grandchildren to cremate with her the only thing she can call her own — a little suitcase. It depicts the manner in which a woman has to struggle to establish an identity of her own. Along the same lines wasAdugemane Hudugi, in which a woman perpetually in the kitchen hears cries of birds and airplanes, which inspire in her an urge to fly and discover the world. In Parvati Uvacha, one sees parallels between goddesses living grandiose lives and the experiences of a mortal married woman.

The ancient practice of ‘swayamvara’ is critiqued in Swayamvara Geethe, bemoaning the absence of freedom for the bride who must choose among the many suitors out to woo her.

Woman’s mind

Every stage of womanhood — as a daughter, sister, and mother — is celebrated while also being criticised. Indicative of a change of theme is the vanity bag, the opening of which each time reveals yet another aspect of a woman’s life.

Evidently a metaphor for the woman’s mind, Vanity Bag sets out to examine the sensitive chords that weave her life. The final stanza ends with the observation that no matter how often one attempts to pry open guarded secrets, these are not easily revealed.

The idea of personal space as the right of any individual, irrespective of gender, is advocated through the play; not demanding, merely stating a fact.

LINK- http://www.thehindu.com/arts/theatre/article3449305.ece

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