The academician Vaijyanti Shintre, who was secretary of the Maharashtra State Education Board (Amravati) in the 1970s, was a formidable force all her life — even after she was struck down by five paralytic attacks in the 1980s.
After every attack, she would attempt to rise and succeed before another one put her down. Her life is now visited in a performance, Fall Again, Fly Better, which will be performed by Aditi Venkateshwaran on December 5 as part of the IAPAR International Theatre Festival.
For Venkateshwaran, who is Shintre’s granddaughter and has written the script, the play is also a metaphor for the present situation when the world is challenging itself to get back on its feet.“It is ironic that a story about my grandmother, who had a difficult life, should open at a time when the world is going through a difficult phase,” she says.
The hour-long performance is an exploratory storytelling narrative of a dancer growing up around someone who has lost control over their body. It spins a thread along a path of vulnerability, exploring the relationship of a granddaughter with her strong-willed, big-hearted grandmother and her subsequent illness for almost 22 years. “The performance explores the nature of this fear, acknowledges its experience and progresses deeper into triumph over it along with the more positive aspects of human existence beyond the physical body, says Venkateshwaran.
Fall Again, Fly Better is not a bioplay but a theatrical performance involving a lot of physical movements. “For a theatre person, what matters is the theatricality in the text, something that touches your heart. This is the story of a woman who lost her father at an early age and all the siblings stayed and lived together and everybody made their own lives — this in itself becomes a very impressive and inspiring scenario,” says Vidyanidhee Vanarase, who has designed and directed the performance.
The storytelling is not a glimpse into the past but structured in a way that a young woman of today looks at a historical personality, allowing for synergy between time periods and making the play relevant to the present.
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