silent sisters - brothers unhinged

meera pattni

20 november 2017

page 2

One of the most beautiful things about the play was its mere simplicity: the set was small and intimate, yet powerful. A total of five actors and actresses played multiple characters so wonderfully, that you forgot it is the same actor playing both the strict Hindu father Dilip and the young and poetic Muslim Jamal who is in love with Sangeeta. Throughout the play, I felt a visceral connection with all the characters – when they were in love, my heart leaped, when they were in pain, I teared up - that’s how outstanding their performances were. The stories explored throughout the play were based on real life experiences, researched by Raminder Kaur, which is what made them so much more human.

One of the things that stood out to me the most was the parallel I could draw between the state of life during the partition and now. During partition, patriarchy ruled over many households in India, and such is still the case – women are still killed in the name of honour, sons are still preferred over daughters, and often, as expressed in the play women are ‘silent in our suffering, and suffering in our silence.’ With India’s current nationalist BJP government, mob lynchings, caste-based and religion-based violence are at a rise. With the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and with the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims, thousands are displaced.  

photograph courtesy of Meera Pattni

On a more personal level, the play made me think of the suffering of my ancestors in both India and Kenya. Were their love stories short-lived? Did they fulfil their dreams? Did they turn their backs on their neighbours or did they welcome them home? Did they succumb to the wounds that don’t heal?

This is a very long tale. 

 

The scene is set. 

It is August 15th 1947. A nation is divided. This side is for us. That side is for them. Walk. Go. Fast. Now. Take a train to the other side.  

Bhai, Bhai.

Bye, Bye.

This is a very long tale. 

The final performance of Silent Sisters - Brothers Unhinged takes place at The Hawth, Crawley on 21 November.