NEARLY FOUR months ago, city-based theatre artiste Hina Siddiqui brought together a group of people who were from different backgrounds. Their conversations revolved around how to talk about gender sexuality and if there was a need to talk about it. The conversations led to elaborate and in-depth discussions which later metamorphosed into a theatrical experiment ‘Coming Out’ by Orchestrated Q’Works, to be held on Sunday at TIFA Working Studios, Camp, at 6 pm and on September 16, 8 pm at Lost the Plot, Aundh.
The play, which is directed by Siddiqui, has eight narratives by eight artistes, who are all dabbling with theatre for the first time. “Some of us in the cast identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual. We also have some people who are straight. We are coming out with a narrative each, dealing with true life experiences,” says one of the team members (name withheld on request). The play weaves together ensemble-theatre, art installation, music, poetry, story-telling and conversations. It is a theatre experience which uses multiple mediums to express, question, criticise and ideate on ‘what is, can be and is possible’ to talk about. The play, which will premiere in Pune, is dominantly in English, with a few lines in Hindi as well.
The play, according to one of the artistes who will also be presenting a narrative, “has been a process of conversations with people from the queer community, people from outside the community with artistes, with theatre makers and people who look at all this differently.
The idea of ‘Coming Out’ is one which only some people in the society can understand because of the privileges they enjoy. The play not only questions existing structures but also advocates for an expansion of the inclusions of the term ‘queer’ and all that this umbrella term could mean. ‘Coming out’ finally is about breaking the silence, saying no to shame and no to guilt due to the desires, wants and experiences that individuals have lived. Queer, he says, signifies anything that is not acceptable by the mainstream society. For instance, an inter-caste marriage, child abuse or molestation can also be queer.
“Though sexuality constitutes a big part of it, there are other things as well – violation of sexuality, molestation, embarrassment, shaming, being ragged. We are expanding the domain of queer’s meaning,” he adds. Hence every narrative is not just about coming out with their sexual identities but goes beyond that.
“These are stories which haven’t found space in their families or friend circles, and hence are being expressed here,” says a team member, who will be presenting a narrative that deals with his experience of being ragged in his college. “It was linked to my sexuality and my identity – how do I identify myself and how do others identify me. This is the first space I am talking about this incident,” he says. As a part of the show, there will also be art installations by the eight participating artistes, with each installation portraying their respective narratives.