Back in 2009, when activist and playwright Eve Ensler, known for her critically-acclaimed play Vagina Monologues, wanted to test waters for her latest writing, I am an Emotional Creature, she invited an Indian theatre company to do a premiere show for her. Poor Box Production, helmed by mother-son duo Mahabanoo-Mody Kotwal and Kaizaad Kotwal, were thus roped in to make Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls All Over The World — a play that addresses issues of patriarchy and gender violence against young girls, with sensitivity and humour. The play fuses monologues, ensemble pieces, song and dance into a collective that tells stories of young girls from around the world who face physical and emotional violence.
For instance, one of the nine stories featured in the play talks about the plight of a young Chinese girl working in a Barbie factory. “She sees Barbie as a negative message being conveyed to the society about girls and their bodies,” says Kaizaad, who has co-directed the play.
Another story is of an Indian girl trapped in a male-dominated system, being told what she should do and what she shouldn’t. “The timing of the play is right, especially in India where crimes against women are making headlines,” adds Kaizaad, who has used dance sequences in the play that have been choreographed by Longinus Fernandes.
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The duo plans to stage the play in schools and colleges. “It is important to start a dialogue not just with the girls but also with the boys,” says Mahabanoo. The play will be staged on March 15 at the National Centre for Performing Arts and the proceeds will be donated to Make-A-Difference foundation, an organisation co-founded by Kaizaad.