When did we get confused? When did phallus-worshipping populations start to condemn sex and destroy the evidence of people ever having thought otherwise? I could probably blame the British, but this isn’t about historically–correct politics. It’s about theatre… and it’s about sex…
We have always been questioned about the boldness of our work – been called an exhibitionists, voyeurs, sadists, heck even been mistaken for an escort service. Yup, you guessed it, our work’s of a rather explicit nature, well, explicit from the standards of Indian modesty and solemn comeliness, I expect the French surrealists would regard us Benedictine Nuns, and as we well know, association with sexual gossip at any point in one’s life can lead to the building of certain reputations, infallible public repositories of one’s identity, regardless of the genuineness of such claims. So why is there so much sex and violence on our stage?
When an artist projects violence in to a piece, it is a reflection of the personally and socially repressed violence that surrounds them, to which their perception and talent makes them especially sensitive. This isn’t psycho-analysis. It’s simple logic. So, for a minute, stop being sensationalized by images of rape, incest, paedophilia, coprophagia and other deviancies mentioned in the manual and listen.
Deny this claim at your own risk, but all of us have ‘dirty’ thoughts and feelings that can’t be explained away as mental imbalance. What are you going to do with those impulses – hide them? Be guilted into depression by them? Repress them? There aren’t any healthy options that reality can offer for the afflictions of the imagination. Art is your only recourse and whether you accept this fact or not is frankly irrelevant. There is sex on stage because there is sex in our minds – more often than not, not the roses-kissing-in-candlelight kinda sex. Art offers- is the only thing that can offer, a third-person catharsis to the audience and a revelationally empathetic venting for the performers and artists creating it. It is the only way to exorcise your demons; violence on stage (or art in general), is, paradoxically, the only viable solution to the world that we don’t need to be told is growing increasingly more unmanageable and intolerant and terrifically violent.
So before you prudishly hook up your nose and spit on writers, painters, dramatists, film-makers and the rest of our ilk, look around you – see that black eye for what it is, see that child pulling her dress over her head, see that Muslim walking with his head bent over his beard – and realize that the only way to stop it – is Art.
So, why is there so much sex and violence on our stage?
Because… we do theatre to push boundaries, to go where we’ve never gone before, to break the mirror and drag out the reflection for examination.
We do theatre to change the world.