Old Wives’ Tale by Memesis, the dramatics society of Daulat Ram College, speaks of women empowerment, the making of myths, and ecofeminism.
The University of Delhi’s street theatre and stage plays have prided themselves for the portrayal of thought-provoking and bold theatricals on an array of social and political issues. The all-girls colleges of Delhi University have always championed the cause of female emancipation. Old Wives’ Tale, the latest production of Memesis, the dramatics society of Daulat Ram College, is the newest addition to the ongoing legacy of feminist theatre.
The 45-minute-long production is an adaptation of The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, the first story from the book of the same name authored by film actress and interior designer, Twinkle Khanna. It tells the story of Lakshmi, a common village girl, who in an attempt to increase the independence of women introduces the idea of planting 10 saplings of mango trees every time a girl child is born. The play encompasses many themes such as domestic abuse, dowry, and female foeticide. It also highlights how myths and rituals are created out of old incidents, and end up becoming a part of the same system of oppression against which they had originally rebelled.
The screenplay is written by the students themselves, and showcases proficient stagecraft. The narration of the story floats effortlessly between the past, present, and future. There are several powerful dialogues dotted across the play. The direction and casting choices are well thought out.
Exchanges between Lakshmi, played by Chavi Sagar, and Sukku, played by Manshi Joshi, are delightful, funny, and convincing. While for the most part the performances are believable, at some points, the acting seems forced as well as amateurish, especially during the second half.
The set and the props are beautifully constructed. There are four to five different backdrops, and the transition from one background to another is smooth, but a few seconds too long. The delay in the setup change interrupted the attention of the audience, who were otherwise immersed in the play.
The makeup and costumes hit the bull’s eye and match the aesthetics immaculately. The lighting, managed by Swaranjali Chaudhary, is perfectly timed. In one particular scene, there are three different arrangements on the stage, all complementing each other due to the lightning, which adds beauty to the scene. Palak Soni skillfully handled the music which complements the plot and tone of the play.
Though I’m glad that I got to watch the play for free, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend my money to buy a ticket for a visual treat like this. Go and watch Old Wives’ Tale in the upcoming fest season, as it will definitely be worth your time.
Image Credits: Niharika Dabral for DU Beat