Puducherry: Whenever a rape case is reported Indian populace would either sympathise or the media would try to commercialise it as an instance of mere physical assault. But how many of them think about the trauma of rejection and ostracisation that will grip the survivor’s mind. ‘K M Monika’, a monologue performance which would be staged at the Pondicherry University next month, is set to throw light on this ignored aspect.
The solo play is about a woman who is kidnapped and abducted in an unknown space. With the realisation that she might be raped and killed, she starts narrating the traumatising incidents of a victim’s life.
The play aims to promote awareness among people about the rising number of sexual attacks against women and how the menace needs to be checked.
It will be staged in different parts of India as well.
The Department of Performing Arts at the University will present the play in collaboration with the Pondicherry Theatre Arts Academy.
'K M Monika' is originally a solo play written and directed by Sugumar Shanmugam, the national award-winning casting director of the Tamil movie ‘Baaram’.
He is also a research scholar at the Performing Arts Department at the PU.
Who is K M Monika
K M Monika is a representative of all women. She leaves a question, “How long will you stay passive towards sexual assaults?”
“Why don’t we put on stage the emotions of a rape survivor? We need to narrate the struggle and pain of that innocent girl. When the audience comes to know about this, I thought this kind of approach will make sense. Instantly media is debating and discussing about rapes. Instead of talking about all those things, why don’t we show their emotions in a particular way? My intention is instead of taking audience to the emotion we have to make them understand about the context," Sugumar told Onmanorama.
The play suddenly cuts down the emotions and uses a technique proposed by German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht instead.
In the Brechtian theatre form, the artist on stage breaks the fourth wall and interact with the audience as in the Theatre of the Oppressed. This is done to curb emotional manipulation in the theatre. Entertainment and surprising jolts are resorted to by artists. In the play the subject K M Monika too is going through some sudden shifts; her emotion changes abruptly and the Brechtian technique suits well in this regard.
Both Malayalam and Hindi version would be staged at the Pondicherry University. The latter is planned for November 10 and the former on November 1 and 2.
Naveena, former student of the Performing Arts, is set to take the stage for the Malayalam version. Shwetha Venkiteshvaran will appear in the Hindi version.
Pallavi, a famous solo act player in Karnataka, will be cast in the Kannada version.
“By this play I believe neither can I educate the society nor can I bring changes, but I can keep them awake. I want this play to be watched by men more than women. Men should think themselves of treating women with respect and dignity. It is the job of an artist too to sort out the problems in the society," Sugumar told Onmanorama.