When you go hunting for greeting cards for your grandparents or ageing parents, the most recurring theme would be an age related joke or quote. And the most of common of them all — ‘Age is just a number’. For young twenty-something women, who juggle college and day jobs along with their passion, theatre, age is just a number too. Only, they’re on the right side of it.
With Chennai theatre becoming a place increasingly populated by the vibrancy of just-out-college youngsters, aspiring to make the stage their home, there is now a new wave of young women who want to be behind the scenes of it all, instead of on stage and in the spotlight.
City theatre groups like Crea-Shakthi, Caricatture Productions and several campus theatre initiatives are all headed by women or have women directors who prefer calling the shots.
Dushyanth Gunashekar, co-founder of Crea-Shakthi says, “It’s heartening to see a marked change in the attitudes, not just of young women who take to directing, but their parents too. Earlier, women who took up theatre dropped out after a while for various reasons, but these women seem to be sticking to their passion – not giving up even when the chips are down. And they have legitimised theatre so much so that parents seem to understand and support them in their ventures.” Some have several full-length plays already under their belts, while others are taking baby steps towards that coveted chair after exploring other arenas of theatre.
But together, these women brook no nonsense and take no hostages. And as all of them unanimously add, they have no glass ceilings to break either.
With stalwarts like N S Yamuna and Tehzeeb Katari from the Madras Players showing them the way, these youngsters are free to explore their passions and interests, without letting their gender matter. Meet Chennai theatre’s new directors.