When theatre artist Deepika Arwind started researching on women writers whose works had been censored, it all came up short. She couldn’t find many names; very few, in fact.
Why was that? Didn’t women write? Didn’t they write enough? Where were these writings? Where were these women? Who or what was keeping them down?
‘I am not here’ the play came out of the intellectual and emotional churning that followed Deepika’s realisation that not enough women’s writing had been out in the public conscience, that not enough of them had been considered works of genius, that not enough had been read and valued enough to even invite censorship.
In this episode, RJ Shruti Sharada speaks with Deepika about the texts she went back to (Virginia Woolf’s Shakespeare’s Sister (from A Room of One’s Own) and Joana Russ’ How to Suppress Women’s Writing) to fortify her ideas on women’s writings and the quiet, systemic censorship that keeps these writers down. The play has been devised by and will be performed inside a set designed as a boxing ring by Ronita Mookerji and Sharanya Ramprakash. The music in the play has been composed by Pallavi MD and Nikhil Nagraj.
‘I am not here’ was shortlisted for the worldwide Stückemarkt Prize by Theatretreffen Berlin in May 2019, and was part of the Nepal International Theatre Festival 2019 and Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival 2018.
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Written by Shruti Sharada.