Tina Milo explores the different stages of depression through her captivating solo play
Canadian musician and actress Tina Milo’s The Village is a compelling story that explores depression in all its myriad guises. It draws on real-life stories and paints a mosaic of the roles women are often confined to in the modern world.
Directed by Dijana Miloševi, the show, featuring Milo as a nameless character, is about an actress auditioning for the role of a depressed woman who bravely ventures into the emotional abyss and seeks an answer to what transports us from emotional darkness to extreme happiness. “The play features four different scenes that talk of the different stages of depression and it’s really up to the audience to find out whether she actually suffers from depression or is simply performing,” expresses Milo, a Serbian, who immigrated to Canada in 2000.
Milo seeks to embody the effects of depression — from having it change how she walks to physically being trapped by it. The story echoes the lives of many unknown women and Milo has used these excerpts to deepen her own voice. “It is a very personal story, and yet it can be the story of every woman,” Milo says further adding that she began working on this subject when she felt the need to talk about depression. “I did experience depression briefly. Being mentally ill in today’s world is an absolute no-no and is still a stigma in modern society. For the play, I even interviewed some of my friends whose experiences I have portrayed in the play,” she says.
The set, designed by Nesha Paripovic, involves art installations and a 33-metre rope placed in circles, which represents various phases in a depressed person’s life. “In addition to two chairs, and two tables, I have used a red scarf that symbolises love, life, and the blood we sometimes shed,” she says. Another strong element in the play is the music, composed by Milo. It is both evocative and organic. “I was guided by my director who precisely wanted music that suits the whole character of the play,” she adds.
The play is part of the ongoing international women’s performing arts festival and it’s the first time that Milo is performing in India. “I am honoured to be the only artiste from North America to be part of the fest. The fest is important for me and for female artistes globally as it is a platform for us to convey a message,” she says.
February 19. Tickets (`300)
available at the venue. At Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar. 7.30 pm. Details: 26493982
— Nandini Kumar