Gidagiduga (Kannada, 2016)

About The Play

Gidagiduga is about Puttani, a young girl living with her family in the suburbs of metropolitan Bangalore. Her playful fantasy laden world changes dramatically when she finds blood on her pants. Soon she finds herself in a delicate exploration of her sexuality outside the boundaries of caste and religion. As Puttani navigates these new found feelings, she struggles to cope with the strict disciplining she is subjected to and the immovable ideologies of her family confuse her further.

As this young girl slowly transforms into a symbolic site of familial beliefs, Gidagiduga raises the timeless question of control over the female body – Why is there a need to control a woman’s sexuality and reproduction? Are notions of purity and impurity, protection and safety, mere surrogates for ‘Domination’?

Originally written in English by Swati Simha, as part of Writer’s Bloc 2016 organised by British Council and Rage with the Royal Court Theatre, London.

Cast & Crew

Playwright: Swati Simha
KannadaTranslation: Varaavara
Direction: Karen D’mello
Performers: Anoosha Krishna, Lekha Naidu, Ram Manjjonaath, Sarvajna Acharya, Sidhartha Maadhyamika, Sriharsha H S
Poster and Set Design: Aruna Manjunath
Set Execution: Vishwas CS
Costume: Sunitha M R
Light Design and Execution: Partha S
Music: Bindhu Malini
Sound Execution: Sunayana Premchander
Production: Anagha Balakrishna, Aruna Manjunath, Catherin Laby
Photographs and Video: Mo, Sarvajna Acharya
Publicity: Nisha Abdulla, Ram Manjjonaath

About the Playwright

Swati Simha is a playwright and actor. She graduated with a degree in theatre from FLAME School of Performing Arts and holds a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication Studies from Shanghai Theatre Academy. She has written two plays for children and is currently commissioned by Royal Exchange, Manchester to write he next play ‘Ouroboros’. She is pursuing her MPhil/PhD in Political Philosophy at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Director’s Note

In our future productions, we are keen to collaborate with artists from various fields while also making KathaSiyah a vibrant and accessible space for all theatre enthusiasts across the social and gender spectrum.

I first met the playwright, Swati, in Oct 2015 when she had just finished writing the first draft of her play as part of Writer’s Bloc 2016. She narrated the story to me and I was drawn to it instantly – the political merged with the personal while containing within it an inherent theatricality. The play came back into my focus in April 2016 after its first staging in English. Swati was curious about how the play would present itself when staged in the language context in which the characters are situated, i.e. Kannada. By then we had a vision for KathaSiyah. It was important to us to stage productions that connect to our experiences as women. There is a dearth of these narratives on stage, so we knew our next work must have a woman protagonist and possibly a woman playwright. Gidagiduga fit perfectly into this vision.

And that has also been my entry point as a director – A woman’s body and sexuality has perennially been viewed as a problem in the context of religious tradition. Gidagiduga is essentially a young girl’s struggle to explore her sexuality and her attempts to push boundaries of gender, caste and religion on that journey.

The cast has joined me in exploring this systemic nature of control even as we question our own role in it. The quest is to keep these questions alive, and further shape the play as we go on to do more rehearsals and shows.