FATS Thearts retells the story of Reyhaneh Jabbari
On July 7, 2007, Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 19-year-old Iranian girl, was put behind bars for defending herself against the man who tried to rape her. He died under mysterious circumstances with multiple stab wounds, although Jabbari had stabbed him only once.
It was about a year ago that Faezeh Jalali, acclaimed theatreperson and founder of the collaborative FATS Thearts, heard about Jabbari from a friend. Jabbari was hanged in October 2014, after being convicted of murdering Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi in 2007.
Needless to say, Jabbari’s story left Jalali intrigued. “I am a fourth generation Iranian living in India and till now, I had not worked on an Iranian story, even though I have watched plays there before. My friend sent me links of Jabbari’s letters written in prison, including those written in Farsi. I felt quite strongly about them, and thought we must make a performance out of it,” Jalali, 36, says.
7/7/7 is an ensemble piece devised from Jabbari’s written accounts. Created over six months, the piece uses physical theatre to provide a visceral and engaging retelling of her story. A crowdfunding campaign for this production raised over `3.5 lakh for the production. “When I decided to work on this, I first spoke to Jabbari’s mother and sought her permission. I remember crying over the phone each time I spoke to her when she narrated instances from Jabbari’s life,” Jalali recalls.
During the last year of her life in prison, Jabbari wrote intimate and detailed accounts of her experiences, and the unjust trial and verdict. “A lot of components drew me to pursue the story. What we are showcasing are just 10 of the 20 parts she had written,” she adds. Jabbari’s story highlights the disregard for basic human rights in the prison systems across the world, and crimes against women. “It is a story that transcends cultures,” adds Jalali.
January 8 -9 (8 pm) and January 10 (6.30 pm). Tickets (Rs.300) available at the venue. At Jagriti, Whitefield.
Details: 4124 2879
— Nandini Kumar