‘I Killed my mother’ is anything but gory

Director Mallika Shah defines the play as frivolous, with nothing horrendous but loaded with laughs

September 21, 2023 10:09 am | Updated 10:56 am IST

Actor-director Mallika

Actor-director Mallika | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Theatre enthusiasts and actors, Meghana AT and Mallika Shah, started the theatre company called tafreehwale in Mumbai in 2021. They bring their show, I Killed my Mother/It Wasn’t my Fault to BengaluruWritten and directed by Mallika, the play premiered in March this year in Mumbai and was supported by a grant by the Drama School Mumbai.

I Killed my Mother... is all about a 25-year-old girl, who has a turbulent lifestyle. She is assaulted by self-doubt, unemployment, too much social media and her mother. She must brave the mundanity and frivolousness of urban girlhood, all the while looking for someone to blame. The play is a dialogue between the body and the four voices inside the girl’s head.

“This is the story of an ordinary day in the girl’s life,” says Mallika over the phone from Mumbai Though the title sounds bizarre, it has nothing to do with murder, nor is it a gory tale, in fact, the play is a comedy guaranteed to make you laugh.”

Mallika was dabbling with the idea of inter-generational conflict and what it is like to be young in an age of social media and so much stimulation. “I was thinking about what it is to feel disassociated with yourself and how these manifest in the manner in which we handle our lives, careers and relationships.”

The idea for the play, Mallika says, started on a day when she had a fight with her mother. “I was in my mid 20s when the fight happened. Immediately after, I wrote a poem, which talks about the freedom that comes from killing your darlings or those closest to you, who may knowingly or unknowingly be a major instrument holding you back.”

Theatre, Mallika says is a versatile, adventurous, and holistic vehicle of thought through which one can discover worlds in detail.

A still from the play

A still from the play | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The poem, Mallika says had a strong, angsty voice. “I wanted to think about how this poem and its train of thoughts could be expanded into a dramatised format. That was when I wrote the play, which was challenging as it is based on real emotions that most of us deal with.” The timeline of the play is one day in the life of the girl. “It starts with when the girl wakes up and ends when she falls asleep.”

Mallika took to theatre while studying in the US. “It was to make friends and when I moved to India a few years ago, I joined the Drama School Mumbai and have worked with Abhishek Majumdar, Vivek Madan and others in the capacity of a sound operator, assistant director, production, arts management. Now, I believe I have a holistic idea of what kind of theatre I want to do and what the process of theatre should look like”.

Meghana AT who founded tafreehwale theatre group

Meghana AT who founded tafreehwale theatre group | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

I Killed My Mother... is her first play as a playwright and a director and this will be her maiden show in Bengaluru. “When we had our show first in Mumbai we thought that only the young would take a liking to the play, but was pleasantly surprised when we saw youngsters walk in with their parents, who also related to the theme of the play. The play, I believe, worked both ways — 25 year-olds connected with the struggles of the protagonist and parents got to see what it means to be trapped in a 20-something mind.”

Killed my Mother/It Wasn’t my Fault will be staged at Shoonya on September 23 at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Tickets on BookMyShow and Insider; September 24 at BIC (Bangalore International Centre) and at Ranga Shankara on September 29, 7.30pm. Tickets on BookMyShow and on www.tafreehwale.com. It is open to anyone aged 16 years and above.

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