No Rest in the Kingdom explores the pertinent issue of women’s safety in public spaces
The photo shoot for the play was treated as a project on its own. Deepika and Sandbox Collective went out on the streets of Bengaluru and shot the pictures in typically masculine spaces. Deepika shares her experience, “People were shocked to see a girl in an outlandish ensemble that featured stockings and umbrellas, particularly because we shot at unusual places like tyre shops and darshinis.”
Deepika Arwind is busy rehearsing for her upcoming theatre production when we catch up with her on a busy weekday. “It is a solo devised piece about the negotiations women have to make in a public and urban environment,” she says, with a smile, adding, “It has been treated with humour so it is definitely a satire.” Titled No Rest in the Kingdom, it involves monologues, impressions, dance movements and a jazz performance.
Deepika was an artist in residence at Shoonya when she conceptualised the play. The centre for art played a huge role in helping with the piece and contributing with ideas. The kind of research that went in is very organic. The articles she read, the experiences she and her friends have had, interactions and observations of people, all went into the making.
It is sheer coincidence that this production is debuting at a time when women’s safety is a raging issue. “It’s just evident that the problem is pertinent. One of the segments specifically deals with the issue of street harassment of women in Bengaluru,” says the actor, writer and director.
The production is very minimal. There is an abstract painting which serves as the backdrop with Deepika in the foreground. The connect and the interaction with the audience is a key element of the play.
The crux is that women brush off a lot of their negative experiences chalking it to gender or social norms. But an urban educated populace needs to have a more introspective idea of what is going on. Deepika is trying to cut through the victim blaming and shaming through her work, and is glad to be part of a larger community of women who are doing the same with their art. It doesn’t take much imagination to see where the inspiration comes from for her. “It was born out of my own experiences, and what we have all been through,” she says.
Tomorrow, 7 pm. At Shoonya, Lalbagh Road. Tickets (Rs 200) on bookmyshow.com
— Anagha M