New Delhi: Empty chairs, hanging mirrors, a burning pyre, water tubs- the stage seemed set for the visual spectacle that chronicled the infamous December 16 gangrape incident that hit the city in 2012.
‘Nirbhaya: Breaking the Silence’, a play based on the gruesome incident of a 23 year old student being brutally gangraped in a moving bus was staged in the capital recently to a packed audience.
The play also narrated the personal testimonies of the actors who were themselves victims of sexual violence.
Written and directed by the award-winning playwright, Yael Farber, Nirbhaya was premiered at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year and won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
Dialogues laden with poetry, anger oozing out in every scene, Sanskrit shlokas playing in the background and a spellbound audience, summed up the performance.
Poorna Jagannathan, one of the performers and best known for the film ‘Delhi Belly’, equates sexual violence with an epidemic.
“The sexual violence has almost become an epidemic. It is not just a woman problem, or a man-woman problem; it is in fact a global problem,” Poorna said.
Sapna Bhavnani, a hairstylist by profession and another performer from the play shared her concern for the rape survivors, and dismissed the idea of just brandishing the perpetrators.
“What we should do with the perpetrators of crime against women is not my area of concern. I don’t want to enter into a conversation that whether we should hang them or cut them into pieces. I want to ask what are we doing with the rape survivors, acid attack victims and the survivors of other forms of crime,” Sapna asked.
Sapna, who is the spokesperson for PETA, Stop Acid Attacks and Fight Back also shared a startling statistic with the audience.
“A statistic claims that one out of four women are raped in the world, that means women have more chances for getting raped than being educated. That is insane,” Sapna says.
Priyanka Bose, who was last seen in the film ‘Gulaab Gang’; Sneha Jawale, an acid attack survivor; Japjit Kaur, singer-songwriter and Ankur Vikal constituted the rest of the ensemble of the play.
The performance that garnered rave reviews from the audience and popular media is planning to travel around to more places, taking forward the message of ‘rise against violence’; with its next stop being Bangalore.