True-life tale explores India’s traditional attitudes to sex
This article is from 2008.
It was a real-life incident that prompted Chennai-based playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar to write Free Outgoing, which depicts a country’s anger when an Indian schoolgirl is filmed with a boy in her classroom. ‘I heard the girl’s family migrated, although I’m not sure,’ says Chandrasekhar. ‘I wanted to write what would happen if that escape route was closed.’
Set in the conservative southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the play describes how the family battles the pandemonium from inside their home. The girl, Deepa, is locked in her room, and doesn’t come out for the entire play. ‘It’s not her story I want to tell,’ says Chandrasekhar. ‘It’s her mother’s journey, her brother’s journey.’ Instead, Chandrasekhar focuses on how the family copes with reporters beating at their door and the video clip appearing on the net.
While this is the prolific Chandrasekhar’s first play to be performed in Britain, it’s not likely that Free Outgoing will be performed in her home country. As she points out, the play focuses on the disparity between India’s technological advances and traditional attitudes towards sex. ‘India is the IT capital of the world yet it has sexual double standards,’ she says. ‘This is what makes me write.’
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, 1–24 Aug (not 11,18), times vary, £14–£16 (£10–£11). Preview 31 Jul, £10 (£5).