“What if I told you that mental illness does not exist? What if we as people are just extremely sensitive beings?”
This was the proposition that Delhi-based theatre-maker, theatre performer, and facilitator Himani Pant brought to the Gender Bender 2017 event, organised by Sandbox Collective and Goethe-Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan Bangalore, and supported by The Ladies Finger. Her devised piece titled ‘Hysterical Hysteria’ combined her personal experiences with high-functioning depression and anxiety with those of some women from across the world whom she interviewed. It was a narrative full of questions and reminiscences that kept tugging at the blurred lines between the ‘normal’ and the mentally ill.
Currently staying at the Universal Education & Mental Health Advancement Foundation (UEMHAF) where she is part of a program designed to help people grappling with depression, Himani nurses a dream of combining theatre with psychology and life skills to make it more meaningful.
‘Hysterical Hysteria’ aimed to bend the understanding surrounding mood disorders, to take it one step ahead into a territory where gender roles and social conditioning were insignificant factors in the game. The performance wanted to, instead, focus on us as human beings and the complexities of our responses to what happens to us.
Written by Shruti Sharada.