Thursday, 15 September 2016

Pune, The Arts and Coming Out.

(Tanya Venkateshwaran writes about Coming Out - a new play that opened on 11th September in Pune. Tanya is a law student in ILS, a photography enthusiast and has previously volunteered at Kashish, the Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. She's damn clingy but also equally interesting and very chill.)
I've always felt like being myself and "fitting in" will never go hand in hand. It is so hard just to put yourself out there for the world to see you for who you really are. Most of us constantly go through a struggle of drawing a (consensus?) between who we are and what people make us out to be.

Sunday, the 11th of September, I witnessed a combination of theatre, spoken poetry, music and art installations at TIFA Working Studios in Pune. The play was called Coming Out and I had heard about it through friends, one of whom was a part of the performance. I didn’t really go with any particular expectations. I knew this was the first time they were ever performing it. The only thing I knew was that it wouldn’t be 'conventional'; I had already been told. But once I watched the play, one thing I knew for certain, there couldn't have been a better way to spend my Sunday evening.

TIFA Working Studios is a gorgeous place that looks like it could be anyone's moderately sized city home.The space was set up with comfortable seating, fairy lights and with the art installations.There were paintings, and postcards and letters and poems with a personal description of each item. The art installation were pieces of the actors, parts of their life. The performances took place in various cozy corners of the studio. We were told to follow the strumming of the guitar that would lead us to the the location of the next bit.

The play started with a sing along followed by 7 actors, 9 pieces. And then a Q and A session. The pieces spoke of everything from the perception of the society to consent to being comfortable in one's own skin. One of the performers spoke about being perceived as queer simply because he used a pink pencil in school. Another spoke of how she struggled with acceptance and how something as negligible as her hair was what she used as a shield.
I had goosebumbs. This was the first time I was attending something so unconventional. In theory it was a compilation of monologues which aimed at starting a conversation about the LGBTQ community and more. But the best part about it was how honest the whole thing felt.
Was the whole thing scripted? Was it fiction or were they true accounts? We will never because that was the
only question the cast refused to answer. But I had already connected to it on different levels personally.

There's so much that happens in life that you don’t reflect on unless you’re forced to. Coming out does just that. It forces you to introspect. You may not be 'in the closet' but you don't really have to be to connect to either the monologue or to the circumstances or the people that possibly led to it.

 To me it spoke about living and letting live and of celebrating individuality. I was overwhelmed the rest of the evening and through the night. It was only the next day at dawn when I woke up at 4 am, sat
on my bed and cried my eyes out.

Coming Out not only opened to an overpacked house but also saw a surprise second show on the premiere day owing to the overwhelming response. Coming Out next plays on September 16, 8pm at Lost The Plot, Pune.
For tickets click:

No comments:

Post a Comment