All the women in suffering speak the same language - that of pain and anguish. They share the same trauma and are united by a fate broken beyond repair.
‘Women with Broken Wings’, the piano-dance performance by Mallika Sarabhai and Elizabeth Sombart in the city on Thursday evening, turned out to be a fitting tribute to those nameless, faceless women who were forced into a violent destiny.
Portraying various stages of womanhood through eleven poignant episodes, the artists created an air of distress and misery, betrayal and desolation, before hinting at hope and positivity.
While Mallika implied the throes through her willowy movements and eloquent gestures, Elizabeth accompanied her on the piano, her haunting notes completing the picture. Bach and Chopin, Beethoven and Bartok flew out of her fingers as she reached out to the listener touching a place deep within. She evoked the pathos so easily weaving out emotional landscapes with music which almost had a colour and texture.
The first two parts of the performance choreographed by Yadavan Chandran - ‘Birth’ and ‘Discovery and Exploration’ - were delightful celebrations of infancy and innocence. Later, as Elizabeth coaxed out of the keys Chopin’s Fantasy Impromtu, Mallika gave out a nuanced act bringing out the dichotomy in a woman’s world and the way she is lost between dualities. The next part, ‘Unknown fears and self-discovery’, saw Beethoven’s ‘Tempest’ filling the air as the danseuses in her black ballet costume used a couple of props to communicate the confusions and riddles awaiting a woman.
In the following two sections, ‘Betrayal and Breakdown’ and ‘Lament’, the artists came out with an arresting performance. Mallika stunned the audience as the assaulted and abused female held in servitude and Elizabeth used pieces of Chopin to communicate the enormity of the terror.
In ‘Feeling and Failing, Ugliness’ and the ‘Soul’s Cry’ the audience saw women reeling under endless torture and screaming out in agony. Then came the stunning ‘March of the Martyrs’, followed by ‘Consolation’. Though melancholic in tone and intensely disturbing at points, the performance ended on a bright note - ‘The Way Forward’.