/An interactive performance driven by a firm social purpose

An interactive performance driven by a firm social purpose

Four Play was a bold, thought-provoking performance act highlighting the need for sexual education, also serving as a sharp outcry of non-recognition of same-sex marriages…

Hyderabad witnessed one of its first interactive performance called Four Play recently in the open space cultural centre Lamakaan recently. The presentation was an interactive performance art curated and presented by expressionist dancer and performance artist Patruni Chidananda Sastry and theatre artist Sajiv Palasa.

The performers called themselves as exhibits in the event. Exhibit one (Patruni Sastry) was dressed in Drag without any makeup and outpoured masculinity to bring in a sharp fluidity of both feminine, masculine and transvestite representation, representing feminine in a marriage setup. Exhibit two (Sajiv Palasa) was more being himself, poured masculinity and without a gender-bend. They were to play four games, games of lust, ego, greed and anger.

The performance started when both the exhibits were standing into inverted tiers when (showing partnership of marriage as two tires of a vehicle) they started shouting “I am superior” in turns. And slowly moved towards a white drawing board where they marked it as Game 1. Game 1 is a fluxes representation of traditional games played by the couple in a south Indian family called Okhli with a twist. Both the exhibit needs to find a handcuff in a bucket full of beans, first with legs, heads and hands.

The person who wins calls superior and the other removed his upper garment proceeding to the next game, where both would walk on a mat handcuffed together and walk randomly within the interface of the mat and intermittently folding it to half of its length in intervals. While they reached the minimum fold, they had to fight with pillows (an intimate game played by a couple) and destroy the pillow into cotton. This was as creating a representation of the sacred 7 steps but not limited to just 7.

The folding of the mat is a symbolism to showcase who same-sex couples/ straight couples are forced not to exhibit their feelings outside the boundaries of the wall and restrict themselves with confined spaces to avoid moral policing. Sajiv won this game which ended up Sastry into two-piece costume. An intense picture was put in front of the crowd when he stood wearing an inner garment of a woman (resisting the moral policing of what women must wear).

Game three proceeded with the couple playing Talambralu (a south Indian marriage ritual) with rainbow colours symbolizing pride. The movements became more scuttle and sensual depicting the importance of touching, eye contact, connectivity within two people and educating the aspects of exploration of sexuality. The fading dynamics of superior vs inferior, dominant versus submissive and masculine vs feminine was depicted in the act of pouring colours one after the other from each other’s head. Claiming equality of their sexual instinct and promise to walk along.

The final game, Brahma Mudi, representing the Mangala sutra, however, here a long length rope being dangled between the couple showcasing the long fight the same-sex couple must fight for to get marital acceptance in this country. This long rope was wrapped by both the exhibits while they walk towards each other and become one. Both were cocooned into the rope and shared a kiss of love to showcase the superiority of love over everything.

The background flute music provided by Pawan from the Nations Rock Beat made the audience stick to the performance and enthralled with the idea of activism. The audience asked curious questions and background of the performance for which both the artist responded with thought processes.

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Srivathsan Nadadhur is an engineer-turned-journalist who has contributed reports for leading media publications like The Hindu, Times of India, Deccan Chronicle, The News Minute and Deccan Herald. He primarily writes on entertainment, art, culture and technology. When he's not working, he can be spotted at a movie premiere, reading a novel or writing poems.