City-based theatre actor and storyteller, Padmavati Rao and director-playwright Naushil Mehta from Mumbai will chronicle different experiences of an Indian woman in a play, titled Kitchen Poems, at Atta Galatta this weekend.
Kitchen Poems is an award-winning collection of 100 poems, written in English by Sahitya Akademi Award recipient Dhiruben Patel, which has a fan in author VS Naipaul. It showcases the journey of a girl in and around the kitchen (used as a metaphor), from her childhood, teenage years, marriage to motherhood, and also her feelings of joy, curiosity, wrath, disappointment and more.
Through the 62 poems that the duo has adapted, they take us through what cooks inside the head of a woman, as she goes about her household chores. “A kitchen is a melting pot of emotions. It can become the trigger and receptacle of our various feelings,’’ Rao says.
There are times when the protagonist (played by Rao) takes pride in her cooking skills. She considers it to be her creative outlet and a way of feeding love to her family.
Later, the play also offers a glimpse of how liberated an Indian woman actually is. “During the course, she comes in touch with estrangement and tension with her husband. But she holds her confidence as a woman,’’ Rao tells us.
Though the poems, written by Patel, who is now 90-years-old, were set in a different era, they still hold true, believes Rao. “If one woman felt this at one moment in time in her heart, then I think it’s true that others will feel it too. I identified with so many parts,’’ she explains.
Rao decided to turn the poems into a play over a month ago and decided to rope in her friend Mehta. He had directed Rao in two one-act plays in Mumbai, when she was still a teenager. It’s after decades that the two will work together.
“Whoever has been fed by a mother or a mother-figure will relate to the poems (and the women responsible for it). There is nothing that comes close to the experience of being fed,’’ Rao signs off.
7.30 pm, tonight and Saturday. At Koramangala.Tickets (`200) on bookmyshow.com