Solo on stage

Directing oneself in a monologue is not easy. There’s never a second opinion to fall back on,and at times being emotive could mean becoming overtly exaggerated.

Written by Afsha Khan | Published: April 2, 2012 2:09 am

Directing oneself in a monologue is not easy. There’s never a second opinion to fall back on,and at times being emotive could mean becoming overtly exaggerated. These were the issues that actor Seema Biswas dealt with when she decided to direct herself in Rabindranath Tagore’s story,Streer Patra. “I’m a director’s actor,so doing this monologue by myself gave me a lot of sleepless nights,” she says,adding,“But having performed this around 16 times now,I think I’ve got my acting and emotions in tow.”

Biswas — who shot to fame after playing Phoolan Devi in Shekhar Kapur’s 1994 film Bandit Queen and was appreciated for her role as the deaf-mute Flavy Braganza,the mother of Manisha Koirala in Khamoshi (1996) — was both anxious and excited about her show at the Timeless Tagore Festival at Mumbai’s NCPA on Saturday. Her early evening show on the same day had her reciting Tagore’s Jeevit ya Mrit,directed by Anuradha Kapoor of the National School of Drama.

Both plays deal with women centric issues that,according to Biswas,are as relevant today as they were in the previous century when they were written. Jeevit ya Mrit is a paradoxical story of a widow who has to prove she’s alive by jumping in a well. Streer Patra on the other hand,is a letter written by a married woman to her husband about how he has the right to be angry with her while she doesn’t have the right to show kindness to a lonely widow. Biswas will be in the Capital in the middle of next month to perform both the plays.

Kapoor adds. “The beauty of Tagore is that he has in his time created such complex and deeply nuanced female characters.”

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