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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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So, I wrote this play for The Metro Plus Playwright Award, 2012. And it's one of three plays shortlisted for the final award.

Here's what Shruthi Mathews has to say about my play:

For those who won't click on the link:

Too Close for Comfort

A play that takes an unsettling look at how filial affection could transform into erotic love – and what the consequence of such a blurring of lines might be.

“Baby” by Nandini Krishnan

Sashidharan and Shailaja are married, and clearly in love. They send each other letters of longing while Shailaja resides at her parents’ house during her pregnancy. They have everything to look forward — the delicious bliss of reunion, a new child, married life.

But Shailaja dies, and Sashidharan is faced with learning to cope with his loss whilst raising their daughter alone.

Still desperately in love with the memory of his late wife, Sashidharan continues his letters — addressed to the ghost of pleasures past and love lost. He encourages his young daughter to do the same, and the pair form a close bond over this special ‘secret’. But as she grows older, her attachment to her father grows deeper, and more possessive — she wants the letters to stop. Isolating herself within the domestic space, snarling at the prospect of marriage and violently determined to erase the memory of her mother, she draws further and further into an unsettlingly close relationship with her father that threatens to shock and disturb audiences.

In her exploration of the ties that bind, freelance writer Nandini Krishnan pushes her characters and her audience to disturbing places — forcing you to think about issues you may not often think about. Using a minimalist, epistolary format, and a sparse stage and cast, ‘Baby’ explores the dark and discomforting world of incest.

Influenced by the research she did on incest for an article published in Zeitgeist, The New Indian Express, “It’s not my place to condemn or endorse incest,” says the Chennai-based Nandini, “It exists, and it’s there. How does it make you feel? It’s disturbing, but I don’t think we can or should judge. I just want people to think a little. It puts you in an uncomfortable position and forces you to think about something you really don’t want to think about.”

But her play isn’t just about the shock factor of seeing a father and daughter getting too close for comfort. There are interesting inversions of conventional power dynamics — who is the victim? Is there a victim? Is this is a victimless crime, and if so, what on earth are we supposed to make of it?


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