These little pockets of urban desolation include many women, but Notes on Chai is not in essence a gender-piece (to follow a current trend in Indian theatre). Here, human follies take centrestage rather than the baggage of male privilege or the spectre of feminine victimhood.
The play concerns itself with the breakdown of language and discourse, and how a herd mentality appears to be emphasized in communities online, stringing together a series of set-pieces that are little more than non-sequiturs, and flit in and out of the vacuous preoccupations of India’s post-millenials.
Mallika Taneja’s Thoda Dhyaan Se is set to be performed at Mumbai’s Sitara Studio on Mar 10, as part of a special programme commemorating International Women’s Day. Last year, she completed a seven-show whirlwind tour in September. Here are some glimpses from those outings.
A young girl far away from home wakes up in the middle of the night. She has heard the sound of someone screaming. Perhaps, her aunt tells her, it was only an owl. But it isn’t an owl, and the girl’s life will never be the same again. Caryl Churchill’s brief but chilling play depicts a surreal world hurtling towards political and ecological catastrophe, a world where nothing can be trusted – not even the birds in the trees.