Navarasas are part of the traditional dance repertoire of India. It is an evolved and highly placed with regards to a classical performance. However, when your perspective changes, the way of emoting navarasas changes too. This was witnessed by the Hyderabadi audience one fine evening. In this instance, the navarasas were performed by members of the transgender community, who used them to tell their stories.
Given that it was not a ‘normal’ performance, the motley of performers was anything but artists. However, when the director of the play Sharanya Ramprakash, thought of the play, it was a raw concept, just like the unexplored talent of her students in a workshop she did with transgender people.
Surprisingly, no auditions were conducted for the play, and Sharanya went along with the people who showed interest in being part of the play. “During the six-month workshops, the members did a lot of improvs. In the end, we discovered we had a lot more stories, so much material, and drama,” shares Sharanya.
However, not everything was smooth sailing. Being a marginalized community, coming for rehearsals was a problem as the members faced issues taking public transport. One girl lost her leg due to an accident. But a few organizations came forward to give them space to rehearse.
The first-of-its-kind play was enacted at Rangabhoomi Spaces; Gachibowli and the members narrated their own stories through each rasa. One girl laughs at the audience as it’s different for them to showcase haasya. Another one showcasing Adbhuta narrates the experience of wearing a saree for the first time.
The audience was totally engrossed in the play, and many took selfies with the artists post-show. The director says they were offered designer shoes and ice cream too.