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Virgin Merry by Millennium Mams

Rita Bhimani

The staging of Virgin Merry, an adaptation of a play by Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca at Gyan Manch on the 5th of May was unique in that the 14 women who acted in it were all new to the stage. They were all part of Millennium Mams’, now in it 25th year, and well-known in the city as a turnaround organization where women, a large number of them home-makers, have been empowered to become financially literate so that they can come to terms with the intricacies of the economic environment with emphasis on finance entrepreneurship and asset building.

This time around, Millennium Mams’ entered another uncharted territory by taking on a complex drama and bringing to it variegated emotions − repression, passion, conformity, jealousy, kindness, and infidelities.  Under the production banner of Wajood, this play was all about a recently widowed woman, left with the responsibility of five grown-up daughters, who imposes a two-year period of mourning on them all and how they rebel against this behind her back. More women add to this high drama − a housekeeper, the Bari-ma of the house, a pregnant maid. The absent person is a Romeo of a man who is the love interest of several of the girls, but obviously does not enter the picture. There is music, dancing, laughter, tears, conflict − making it a very watchable bit of theater.

The remarkable fact is that these fourteen women underwent a six-month theater therapy course, and rigorous rehearsals, under the direction of renowned theater artist and film personality Chaiti Ghoshal, who took on the project as a personal challenge.