MPTF 2014 Theatre

Citizen Reviews: Beyond Binary

A scene from the play 'Beyond Binary'  

Non-binary mirror for introspection

The play was like a mirror on which we could see our non binary selves and introspect on ourselves on who we are in relation to ourselves and the rest of humanity. The exemplary performance by the ensemble cast in capturing the lives in the margins is commendable. The life of a transgender sex worker, a woman who struggles to come to terms with her sexuality, a lesbian and a closet homosexual are portrayed with utmost sensitivity. The regressive role played by the family built on the binary foundations of father and mother in further alienating sexual minorities is dealt with too. Every good poem or a piece of art is a contribution to reality and this play is a shining example of how art can contribute to social and cultural change.

Chandramohan S.

Kopparaparambil House Tollgate Road, Pachalam PO

Sexual orientation isn’t chosen

I always knew that performing arts, especially theatre, had the power to move people but there are things that have to be seen to be believed. I walked into Beyond Binary a trifle late when the cast had just finished their initial interaction with the audience. Having seated myself beside an elderly gentleman, my question to him on what I had missed was met with a rather curt “nothing important”. Chastened, I concentrated on the play. We very often tend to act oblivious to the things that do not concern us but this play proved to be a real eye-opener. Personal experiences narrated by the characters on stage were depicted very artistically incorporating elements from the desi ‘nukkad-natak’ to the western ‘ballet’. And the closets were perhaps a veiled reference at the status of the LGBT community in India. It was nice to see theatre serve a purpose. Quite numbed by what I had seen over the 90 minutes, as I stood up to give the group a standing ovation, I could see a teardrop trickle down the eyes of the gentleman next to me. The impact of theatre was right there, in front of me. Thank you to The Hindu Metro Plus for the choice of plays.

Hitesh Mahato

Naval Base

Awareness and acceptance

Beyond Binary can only be described as a bold piece of poetry that makes us question, “What exactly is ‘acceptable’?” Directed exceptionally well by Yosup Bae, the Indo-Korean theatre collaboration explores sensitive issues such as sexual orientation and gender identity. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, man and women—so many classes, so many divisions. Do we need to label every child as one of the above?

Who or what defines your identity? What is normal and what isn’t? The play was truly bold, beautiful, and a rare work of art. The actors did a magnificent job conveying the emotions of the characters, their pain and humiliation a lot more real than they can handle.

Although it was splendid, the dialogue spoken by some of the actors was not clear enough and was at times inaudible. There was also a mistake by the orchestra as the music for a certain part began earlier than it should have.

Towards the end of the play, the director walked across the stage to manage props for the ongoing scene. With that said, Beyond Binary was like watching art erupt on stage in a marvellous fashion to the rhythm of very strong , bold yet subtle verses of poetry, all with the added magic of theatre.

A.S. Krishnapriya

No.2 ECHCS Presidency, Indira Nagar

Kadavanthra

An academic discourse

The play would have had more impact on us if it had attempted to dramatise real life stories. Instead, the director seems to have interviewed many who faced discrimination due to their sexual orientation and / or fuzzy gender identity, abstracted academic insights from those interviews and then transformed the insights into a dance drama. The director lost out on the option of capturing those stories as life stories, transforming them into theatre and in the process implicitly discovering and transmitting insights to the audience.

Stories would have had greater emotional impact. Presently, it boils down to an academic discourse in the form of a dance drama with examples drawn from the interviews to support the discourse.

Ancheri Sreekumar

‘Sreeancheri’, Elamana Road, Tripunithura

Gender-Bender

Beyond Binary went beyond the conventional, in every sense, to bring those at the edges of our society to the centre-stage. The energetic cast, looking like apparitions in white, enlivened the sorry stories of the gender-challenged. The haunting flute notes and the disturbing theme will reverberate in the minds of the audience for quite some time. Kudos to the Indo-Korean team for opening our minds to what lies beyond the ordinary. It was a successful experiment.

U. K. Menon

Edappally


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 12:38:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/theatre/citizen-reviews-out-of-the-mainstream/article6313494.ece

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