The Emotional Ride of artistes of the transgender community

In a first-of-its-kind show in the city, nine artistes of the transgender community ‘enacted’ their life stories on stage using navarasa — the nine emotions

Published: 28th June 2022 06:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2022 06:27 AM   |  A+A-

Navarasa, usually a part of the classical dance repertoire, found a real-life representation when nine artistes of the transgender community ‘enacted’ their life stories. (Photo | Express)

Navarasa, usually a part of the classical dance repertoire, found a real-life representation when nine artistes of the transgender community ‘enacted’ their life stories. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Navarasa, usually a part of the classical dance repertoire, found a real-life representation when nine artistes of the transgender community ‘enacted’ their life stories on stage using the nine emotions. The play Nava was presented by the Aravani Art Project at Rangabhoomi Spaces, Gachibowli on Sunday. Each artiste, through the depiction of a rasa, communicated their own story to the audience. The first-of-its-kind play was welcomed by the Hyderabad audience who seemed to have acknowledged and appreciated the performers with the sensitivity it needed.

Speaking to CE, the director of the play Sharanya Ramprakash, said the play was a result of the workshop they conducted for the transgender community. There were no auditions conducted for the play. Those who were willing and interested in sharing their life stories became a part of this project. “During the six-month workshop, the members did a lot of improvs. In the end, we discovered we had a lot more stories, so much material and drama,” says Sharanya.

Getting together to do rehearsals was not a smooth journey says she. “The marginalisation this community faces is always a big challenge. They had problems with public transport. There were issues with their safety and security during their commute. One of the members lost her leg in an accident. Fortunately, a few organisations came forward and gave them space to rehearse.”

Speaking about the positive feedback Nava has been receiving, Sharanya says it was heartwarming. “Conventional ideas of navarasas were challenged through their performance. And they were very moved. The artistes enjoy being seen and heard. They go and interact with the audience after the show who take selfies with them. People also display acts of kindness. A shoe designer in Hyderabad was willing to make them designer shoes. Someone else offered ice cream,” says Sharanya with a smile.

Now that they are hit by the acting bug, will these artistes consider taking up professional theatre? “Definitely. They had no prior experience in mainstream acting. They only had an idea about the hijra version of theatre, which is performative and involved a lot of dancing.

Navarasas are usually considered to be an upper caste thing but when we bring in trans people, they interpret and convey it differently. For example one of the actors, Veena, while displaying Haasya, laughs at the audience because it’s different for them. Another actor Chandri during Adhbuta narrates the experience of wearing a sari for the first time as she wore a sari only once and that too because it was a hijra party.”While hoping the transgender artistes get more opportunities in other fields, Sharanya feels platforms like films and OTT can use their talent. “We



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