Struggle against the double standard
This article is from 2008.
India's conservative views on sex are placed under scrutiny in Anupama Chandrasekhar's culturally-damning drama, Free Outgoing. The show opens on a comical note when Malini, a widow with two teenage children, shows off her homemade jewellery cleaner to an admiring colleague. Almost immediately, the plot descends into chaos as Malini discovers her studious daughter Deepa has been filmed having sex with a boy at school. When the footage is leaked onto the net, Deepa becomes a national target for her supposed promiscuity.
A stage fitted out with modest furniture becomes an anxious waiting room as badgering media and baying mobs trap the family in their home. Deepa's mistake becomes the neighbourhood's problem as crowds block the colony's entrance and water lorries struggle to get in. Intermittent sounds of text-messaging, ringtones and televisions reinforce the idea of how difficult it is to escape from the media.
Chandrasekhar's clever device of hiding Deepa in her room for the entire show allows us to concentrate on the other family members' travails. As Malini, Lolita Chakrabarti's transformation from self-assured single parent to a victim of society's mores is impressive. Yet, throughout, you can't escape from the notion that any impression made by Free Outgoing on Scottish audiences will be nothing compared to the impact it will make in India if it is ever performed there.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 24 Aug (not 11, 18), £14–£16 (£10–£11).