BWW Interview: MAURAYA SHARMA On His Play - The Two Headed Lore
The Two-Headed Lore is a Devised Theatre piece where six performers bring together folklore, fairy tales and myths with their own lived experiences of gender binaries and all that exists in-between. Directed by Manjari Kaul, the play has been co-directed and conceptualized by 14-year-old Mauraya Sharma. aThe school-going boy says that the play was a result of his quest to find answers to questions around his own identity in a society with fixed, often oppressive gender norms. The play will be staged at Monkey Business, Gurgaon on Saturday and Sunday, July 7th and 8th, 2018 :
We talk to young Mauraya on his thoughts and inspirations and starting young
1. You are all of 14, tell us in detail your gender experiences that shaped your thoughts to conceptualize this play
A. I think what really struck me was, how the society shapes boys and girls, especially in India. I wanted to do something different and be who I am and not being bound by what I am expected to do. At a very young age, I used to play with dolls and dress them up. Besides, I was never really interested in sports, and people would constantly comment upon these two aspects of my personality. It was when I first watched the play Shikhandi and Yakshagana (Indian folk ballet based on stories from Indian mythologies) that I was intrigued to explore the world of Indian mythology and folklores. It was during this journey I discovered that on one hand the Indian mythology is steeped in gender conformities and on the other hand, it transcends it.
2. Tell us in detail about The Two-Headed Lore
The Two Headed Lore is inspired from coming together of binaries - the day co-existing with the night, the masculine with the feminine. The play is about six folklores and myths, narrated by six actors, as stories arising from a restless night. And dissolving into each one's personal narratives giving an unexpected twist, a fresh perspective on the age-old endings. The six stories include, the famous Rapunzel who was stolen by a witch and kept in captivation until rescued by a boy. The warrior princess, Chitrangada's story from the Mahabharata - how she fell in love with Arjuna but was rejected for not being "woman-enough". And when she did transform into the "acceptable feminine version" of her self, she couldn't relate to herself anymore. Another story is about a man who discovers that he loves to get dressed in night gowns, and explore a different side of his sexuality. One story talks about Penelope's perspective of the odyssey, with the roles reversed, where Penelope travels the world instead of waiting for her husband for decades. The final story is about the famous character "Ahilya" who was deceived by Indra into sleeping with him, and was cursed by her husband to be a stone. Through time immemorial, humans have told stories of fantastical birds and beasts, of lasting promises, of witches and wizards, of boons and curses of adventurous travel, wars and everyday life.
3. Tell us about your background, what you study and also your family background Well, before I learnt to read and write I was exposed to the world of colors as they were my earliest playtoys. As a child I would love to be covered with paints and I would put my imprints on paper. I learnt the names of colors by being exposed to the works of world renowned artists. My passion for design began at the age of 6 while watching the marriage of Kate and Willliams. I wanted a wedding gown for my doll that had a long tail and my grandmother made one for me. I instantly fell in love with the process of creating clothes for my dolls emulating what my mother use to wear. Thats how I began to sketch and stitch clothes, recently completing a course in fashion designing and draping from CSM, London. I also enjoy playing the piano. But my love for theatre and design is what inspires me to transition from being an appreciative audience to creating a performance. I inherit my love for reading & theatre from my parents. Currently, I am a student of Pathways World School, and I enjoy studying Science, History and Literature. My family comes from North India. My father is an engineer and has been in leadership roles in various multinational IT companies. He hails from the land of the Himalayas, while my mother comes from a Punjabi family based in Chandigarh. My mother has a double masters degree in English Literature & Business Studies, pursuing a course in Hinduism from Oxford University. Currently a stay-at-home mom, my mom claims that she could never go back to her corporate world job once she laid her eyes upon me!
4. At what stage you developed a love for theatre
A. I have been exposed to theatre since I was a kid, as my parents are theatre enthusiasts. I have seen theatre both internationally and domestically. I have seen legends perform on Indian Stage, and I have always been intrigued how easily they can don a character and convey its nuances so subtly yet effectively. I cannot say exactly when I fell in love with theatre but just the art of understanding characters, spending time with them, watching gestures, movements, challenging yourself really inspired and motivated me. Being brought up in a loving Indian family , I am exposed to so much of emotions and expressions that really helps me relate with the emotions being payed on stage and accentuate my love for theatre.
Ticket Price : Rs 350/- per person and Tickets available on bookmyshow.com.