Both the plays explored how women from different strata, in differing contexts have addressed, succumbed, and overcome the trauma of sexual violence, in and outside of the institution of marriage.
“When we talk of mindsets, we are somewhere terrified, that change is gradual – and sometimes agonizingly slow – but I believe that when the right elements come together and gather momentum then change can also occur quite quickly. It just requires a commitment by those who have the power to make change to listen to those who seek it, and it also requires a commitment by those who seek change to hold those in power accountable to make the right decisions and ensure that goals are met... I believe that together we can and will make a difference,” Bharti said.
Talking about her production 'Jail Birds', she said that it is a story of a woman who has endured marital rape and witnessed sexual abuse within her marriage. Conflicting realities move from denial and confusion, to admission, acceptance, and finally freedom, as the mother and daughter rewrite their experience of a sexually violent history.
Anupa, the mother, has arrived near the end of her 14-year jail sentence for killing her abusive husband. In all this time Amrita, the daughter, has never paid her a visit. An accidental discovery finally propels Amrita towards meeting her mother in the jail. For mother and daughter the challenge of meanings involves reconciling history with versions of what, for each, is a life changing truth, Bharti said.
While talking about - 45”35”55”, Bharti said, “Sometimes it takes as long as fifty years for a rape survivor to speak up, so in 45”35”55”, it takes 25 years.”
The story deals with two ageing sisters who decide to live together, under one roof, As diehard beliefs collide with age old habits, they enter what is called a war zone — yet survival instinct drives them together and they finally agree to bring in a tenant, a young career woman, who enters their lives like a whirlwind, blowing away cobwebs of manipulative habits, patterns, beliefs, ideologies, nurtured over a lifetime; bringing out their vulnerabilities, forcing them to be honest and open. The endearing and funny tale that hilariously skims the surface of everyday interactions dives into the depths of heart wrenching events, covered and denied for 25 years. 25 years of concealing the trauma and violence of a gang rape.
After both the performances, an interactive session was held where audiences interacted with artists and director of the show.
Bharti, a Rotary World Peace Fellow has written, directed and performed over 27 theatre projects, mainstreaming gender, equality and diversity and promoting non violent action. A few of her performances include Satchidananda, Rubaru: Raj Kapur in Russia, As the Sun Sets, Rooh ka Ghar and The Most Important Question, Blind Date, Nun and the Prostitute.
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