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Five mythical women come alive in these plays

Chennai-based Theatre Nisha’s latest offering is based on the lives of the Pancha Kanyas

V. Balakrishnan, founder and artistic director of Chennai-based Theatre Nisha. (Theatre Nisha)

"Listening to and telling stories is in our DNA,” says V. Balakrishnan, founder and artistic director of Chennai-based Theatre Nisha. And stories are what the theatre company has been turning to in these troubled times. “They allow us to get together, indulge in dialogue, strengthen each other,” he says.

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Their forthcoming sessions focus on the stories of five iconic women, the Pancha Kanyas: Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, Mandodari and Ahalya. Every storytelling session, around 40 minutes, will be facilitated by Balakrishnan and Uma Sathya Narayanan, a trained Bharatanatyam dancer and Carnatic singer. “I am going to be telling the story and Uma will be performing,” he says.

Traditionally, he notes, the word kanya carries the connotation of virginity—here, though, the concept is more layered. Quoting from the Mahabharat, he says the word had roots in the word kama, or love and desire. And all the five women in focus had complex inner lives and personal histories, says Balakrishnan.

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The storytelling sessions will be held from 28 June-2 July, from 7.30pm. To book a slot, write to theatre.nisha@gmail.com.

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