Through the mediums of poetry, jazz and movement, Ahmen Women tries to highlight the stereotypes and roles to which women are confined in society. The two-hour stage production was written and conceptualized by Madhuri Jagadeesh. The show features performances by New York jazz writer and poet Shobita Mampilly and music by Jagadeesh MR. “I am a woman and being surrounded by women of all ages and listening to their stories, their experiences and their interactions gave me the idea to work on this theme. Women working together can be a fabulous experience,” Madhuri tells us.
The performance touches on three archetypal tropes of women in myth and history: the powerful mother figure, the ideal wife, and the “free” woman. Although these established archetypes and roles have been noted in history for centuries, women are still expected to fit into these molds and are punished when they attempt to break out. It was the thought that made Madhuri conceptualize the show.
Each part or segment of Ahmen Women features poetry and lyrical jazz music, and tells a story through an innovative blend of these mediums. “Jazz is at the heart of this production, it is partly rehearsed and partly improvised. The musicians have been working with us for some time and have developed an understanding, intuition and spontaneity for it. These are all original compositions – the soundscapes, sound design and songs. We will use live instruments such as guitars, bass, drums, clarinet, keyboards and vocals as well. In addition to jazz, artist Jataveda Banerjee incorporates thumris, ghazals, Rabindra sangeet and other styles of music,” adds Madhuri. The show’s poems range from Shobita’s Call Me Kali and Good Features, Bad Features to verses on feminism by Maya Angelou. The show also features
artist of the Rohini Rajashekaran movement. Rohini brings abstract and traditional dance performances that portray and capture the themes of Ahmen Women. “Although there is no central plot, each narrative is like a vignette that tells a unique story,” Madhuri concludes.
Rs 400. July 22. At the Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield