The voice of reason is dying. As our world is wound in ever-tightening circles as it paradoxically drags us in to an isolation born of phobias, insecurities and judgment. Righteousness and immorality are constantly at loggerheads and in the middle of all the fighting we’ve forgotten what we are fighting for. ‘White Noise’ is series of monologues, connected by a chorus of voices that answers questions that are yet to be asked and questions social hypocrisy and conveniences.
An idol-maker stands in a temple and hopes to find God through sex, daring the mute statues all around him to stop him as he ‘makes love’ to the Goddess. His actions and words, bold and flamboyant before the stone eyes, tackle Kamasutra-land’s post-colonial phobia of all things sensual, the double-standard that accepts leering at scandalously sexual images in the media yet bans sex-education in schools.
A Devdasi, a woman who was dedicated tothe temple at the age of four in an elaborate and socially-ordained system to perpetuate sex-trade and sexual-slavery, questions political and religious leaders. They had a choice and they can afford to believe in the sanctity of virtue, especially since they are not marginalized, despised and used when all they are trying to do is feed their families.
A girl who took up ‘deeksha’ that is became ‘a nun in search of salvation’ at the age of fourteen, looks at India’s family system, which unflinchingly discriminates – coddling where it should admonish, giving freedom instead of responsibility and treating girls like property and boys like assets – just because ‘that’s the way it is’. That this could perhaps be the one cause for problems of gender discrimination, sexual abuse and adultery in the society at large, is something everyone conveniently ignores.
And in the end, a mad woman, who has run away from a sexually sadistic and abusive husband and now lives on the cremation grounds, forces a new look at the institution of marriage and the tendency to see it as a ‘cure for everything’. The story of her life is lesson in over-expectation and examines the tendency of women to stay in abusive, severely derogatory relationships for reasons no one really understands, but reasons that remain perfectly valid nonetheless.
The play is not trying to preach, but it does try to scream out the obvious that society lives in oblivion off. Each story is connected by a chorus, that at one point become a sea of statues of Shiv-Parvati and at another a floating cloud of dead bodies.
The characters have been inspired by William Dalrymple’s book ‘Nine Lives – In search of the Sacred in Modern India’.
Orchestrated Q’Works presents ‘White Noise’
Monday, 4th February 2013