Mallika Taneja (India)
DEVISED AND PERFORMED BY: Mallika Taneja
INTERNATIONAL TOURING: Ligne Directe (France)
TOUR AND PRODUCTION MANAGER: Smriti George
DURATION: 45 min.
PREMIERE: 2013. Performance was first created at the Tadpole Repertory as part of their show “NDLS”.
LANGUAGE: English, with Lithuanian surtitles
RECOMMENDED AGE: 18+
DATE: 9, 10 October 2019, 18:00 and 20:30
VENUE: Arts Printing House, Pocket Hall (Šiltadaržio str. 6, Vilnius)
“We do have the power to say no. […] If we don’t say no to the things happening to us, who will?”
Be careful. This is what is said to girls and women in reference to their behaviour, their attitudes, and their clothes. This seemingly innocent phrase also implies a principle that is deeply rooted in many cultures: security is a woman’s own responsibility. This presumption diminishes the responsibility of the other, aggressive and abusive party.
Mallika Taneja, actor and director, sets on dissecting this very presumption in her play. The work by Mallika is first and foremost about widespread sexual violence in India and the role that clothes ‘play’ in ‘provoking’ it. Or do they?
In India, as in other countries, being on guard is a central part of the female experience of life. Taneja, who lives and works in Delhi, denounces before her audience all the hypocrisy imbedded in a vision of women as potential victims. Although it is hard for an individual women to say no to the norms of family and society, although it seems like this would not change the big picture, it is exactly this type of rebellion – unseen yet significant – that is seeing so many young Indian women come out of the shadows and assert their rights.
With the help of French production agency Ligne Directe, which organizes international touring for the show, this is the first theatre play from India presented in Lithuania.
In Lithuania, #metoo movement had a sharp rise in 2017 with famous male artists and pliticians being at the epicentre; yet today it seems to have subsided and is no longer in the public eye. Is it gone or is it waiting awaiting another explosion? Can we witness the process of change in the relations between men and women? What are the ripple effects of #metoo 2017?
I can understand discomfort. I don’t think I understand offense.
Mallika Taneja is a theatre artist living and working in New Delhi. Through performances and interventions, she attempts to understand what equality means, how it operates, and how each body may defy the unjust power structures. In India, she also organises Midnight Walks – women stroll around the city past midnight, a time at which most would not dare to venture.
In 2015, Mallika Taneja received a ZKB Acknowledgement award from the Spektake theatre in Zurich (for the play Be careful).
Ligne Directe draws a direct line between theatrical artists and stages of the whole wide world. The team has a mission to reveal artistic universes and unique performances, gathering the necessary means to develop the productions, tours, publications, and research laboratories.