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A production of Rona Munro’s infamous psychological drama ‘Iron’ was staged at G.D. Birla Sabhagar on the 25th of August. The small cast comprised Shernaz Patel as Fay, Dilnaz Irani as Josie and Meher Acharia-Dhar and Kenny Desai as the prison guards. The plot of the play revolves around the reunion of the imprisoned Fay (Patel) with her daughter Josie (Irani) after fifteen years of separation.

The setting of the play is the prison that Fay is in, and contributes greatly to the atmosphere of the drama, as well as the protagonist’s mental makeup. Fay is sentenced for life for the murder of her husband, and the event causes her daughter to be estranged from her as a child. Fifteen years later, her daughter Josie, a successful yet lonely goal-oriented woman, tracks down her mother and visits her, wanting to know more about her roots and about both the parents that she had lost when so young.

Their first encounter is awkward as they barely know one another. However, the tension slowly dissolves due to Fay’s sunny and chatty personality and Josie’s curiosity. As the story gradually unfolds, one sees mother and daughter developing a deeper relationship and understanding of one another. Fay attempts to make the reserved Josie open up more and indulge in the general pleasures of life, making her daughter be adventurous and live a more social life. She lives vicariously through Josie’s vivid descriptions of the life a young person has outside of a dingy prison, being so vivacious herself, despite her confinement.
The process of being reacquainted with one another is not merely one of joy, as they also discuss some complicated, and even unsavoury issues of their lives, such as the loss of love and the soul-sucking nature of penal system. Josie recovers all her repressed memories from her childhood by talking to her mother.

The dynamic between mother and daughter gradually changes because of how riddled with guilt Fay is. Fay’s character is unyielding, with negative and positive consequences. While she never compromises on her vitality and zest for life, she can never forgive herself for her one moment of cruelty causing her mind to be caged alongside her physical being. Josie, on the other hand, responds to change, and blooms into a well-adjusted individual after she discovers herself through her interactions with her emotionally volatile yet loving mother.

Shernaz Patel’s depiction of Fay’s complexity was magnificent. She moved and wooed the audience with her fine representation of the troubled mother. Dilnaz Irani was convincing in her portrayal of the sensitive and compassionate Josie. Meher Acharia-Dhar and Kenny Desai’s performances as the two prison guards was praiseworthy, contributing to the atmosphere of the play while throwing light upon the characters of Fay and Josie, as well as the order of things in prison.

The play reveals the human psyche that chokes under pressure guilt, as well as the horrors of confinement on an individual. One must watch the play with an open mind to allow themselves to realise such complexity.