October always holds a special place in the heart of every Bengali. It heralds the beginning of Durga Puja- the biggest festival for the Bengalis. For us, this October was very special and eventful as well.
Two performances of Unified Theatre was staged in two different districts, namely Hooghly and Kolkata, in October. The first one was part of an inter-school theatre competition, which took place near Jiraat, a small town in Hooghly. Ours was the only unified theatre roup, including both children with and without disabilities. The theatre, named ‘Lohori’ was based on the story of a young girl from a coastal village in Bengal and her struggle for her and the other girls of their village for their Right to Education. Our performance not only garnered a lot of applause, but our lead character also got awarded as the ‘Best Actor’.
The second performance was part of the durga puja festivities in Golfgreen, a locality in South Kolkata. We were invited by the local councillor to put up a performance of Unified Theatre. This script was based on the journey of a trans-woman. She isn’t accepted by her friends and the society at large for ‘behaving and talking like a girl’ even though she is a male by birth. She finds solace in her art teacher who accepts her the way she is and also makes her play the character of Goddess Durga, a character predominantly played by a woman. This was the first time that a trans-woman played the lead role in a unified theatre production and that has won great appreciation. Speaking to some of the spectators,it got clear that for most of them, such a production was very unexpected and the entire team got a lot of praise from the organisers.