A Grand Introduction to: Parlour, or it all started with hair


2017-01-26-photo-00000094Presented in Collaboration with TIFA Working Studios


The first beauty salon started in the 1800’s – one of the first businesses owned by, run by and catering to women. Even today, the beauty parlour is a space we keep going back to – to look better, to feel better, to fit in. But, who are the people who work in parlours’? What do they think of beauty? What do they think of the work they do? What do they think of us?


These questions inspired OQ to put together a team of dancers, theatre actors, writers and a photographer. Together we began to reconstruct the myth of beauty in the performance space. Our work was informed by days spent working at and observing parlours from within, interviewing people who work there and seeking out input from hajam dukkans, beauticians, hair-stylists and high-end salons.


We are looking at the concept of beauty, labour and ritual – starting with the space of the beauty parlour. The experiment hopes to expand then to space of the ‘home’ and then on to ‘spiritual’ services.

  • Process Duration: January 2017 – August 2017
  • First Showcase: 8:30 PM, M C Ghia 11th February, 2017 at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, 2017


We are looking at doing at least 10-15 shows across Pune, Mumbai as well as Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata in this year.


Note on Performance:

Imagine a space of healing, of secret rituals and whispered voices, of smiles and warm eyes. You dip your feet in warm water as someone washes away your sins. You can talk if you want to – about anything under the sun or of nothing at all. Or listen, there are stories a plenty in this sacred circle.

That mirror there? What do you see in it? Are those your empty eyes that stare back? Is that your heart unburdening itself? Stand there for as long as you want, this time is your time and the secret is safe between the mirror and you.

All those things you see – lotions, unguents, potions, poultices – products all to make you look better, feel better and win all those hearts you’ve been chasing for so long. But who is that who sits there, pulling on one colour and then the next. Will anything ever look good on her? Those red lips and rosy cheeks she so desperately paints on, those eyebrows she plucks and the hair she hides, that blemish she is covering – will it save her? Why is she so desperate? Will you hear her story? Will you help her paint a new face?

See those two? Trapped by their mistakes? Their hair pulls and stretches. You can hear them shriek in pain. Do you want to set them free? It’d be so easy! But be careful. They may not be as helpless as you believe.

And who is that man who sits in a hair. Commanding, crying, caressing – what does he want? Snip! Snip! Snip! That pair of scissors is in practiced hands, yet his bawling never stops! His lost loves, his burning desires. Who can hear them over a chopping sound?


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