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On the flipside

The Patriarch, a dramatic monologue, set to be staged on October 27 at The Mandrem House, delves into how men too are often victims of the age old patriarchal structure prevalent in society, reports NT BUZZ

CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ

When one talks about patriarchy, it is usually about women – how women are subdued, not allowed to work etc. And Samira Gupta has written extensively on this topic, having released two books – Fifty Seven by Eight and 1BHK that concentrates on patriarchy from a child and a young woman’s perspective respectively. This time around, she decided to look at the other side while penning the script to the new monologue ‘The Patriarch’. “Men are as widely victimised by a patriarch as women are,” she says and then lists a few instances, “What happens to a son of a businessman who does not want to pick up the family business? What happens to a grandson who wants to study art or something that is so appalling that he is not allowed? What happens when you are given dates of when you should marry, what sort of woman you should find, and how many kids you should have?”

The script of the play, she says, tries to address this and also asks the audience to look at the man in the family under this patriarch. “Born and brought up in Kolkata which is the hub of patriarchy in the country, this is something that has over the years begun to bother me in a way that it has become a way of life that is accepted, when really patriarchy is an epidemic which has not been treated,” says Gupta.

The monologue will have theatre artiste Mohit Mukherjee as the main actor with musician Ashim Bery providing the music. “Sameera and I worked on another play together and post this she mentioned the idea of this new play to me and asked me if I was interested. So we sat down and brainstormed on it for awhile and the script evolved from there,” states Mukherjee. The monologue centres on a sweet shop and has three characters – a grandfather, a father and a son, each talking about their lives and views about things. The script is loosely based on Gupta’s own family but more so on her understanding of the patriarchal society.

“It’s basically as if three men are talking to you over a drink about what life was and is now, what irks them, their ambitions in life etc. It is up to you to decide what to take home from that, what you decide to question and what you decide to accept,” she says, adding that she does not believe that the patriarchal structure has changed all that much but acknowledges that there are people now who don’t agree with it and have moved away from it.

The monologue has also been presented under the umbrella of The Play Factory, a fairly new company by Mukherjee. The aim of the company is to create socially relevant plays and to conduct workshops that focus on theatre. He also works with children with special needs, helping them find their strengths through workshops and other activities, says Mukherjee, who is also in love with the medium of monologue.  “I have been into storytelling for a long time and I decided that I wanted to experiment more with monologues as I felt that it was most challenging. If you can just sit and talk to an audience and manage to hold their attention, as an actor I think you have done a decent job,” he says.

 

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