Parenting choice and judgement are two significant words in the play How Does My Garden Grow? To be staged by Hyderabad-based Kriti Stories on September 15 and 16, the 90-minute devised production deals with a challenge most parents face: Being judged by people all the time and also how certain choices are scrutinised. “The theme is on the choice of being parents around which narratives are built,” says director, Pallavi Verma Minnaganti. The play in English with a bit of Hindi deals with different kinds of people including those who do not want to have children or wish only to adopt. “If they are making a conscious choice, it’s their life. Why not normalise this choice?” asks Pallavi.
Creating an ensemble of artistes, playing a few theatre games and discussing ideas to create a script from scratch are the high points of this production. Pallavi had earlier done two devised shows – Elephants Never Forget (2021) and Leher (2022) and was working with some artistes for another play in July, which did not materialise. When the group randomly discussed topics during a chai-break, most artistes dwelled on the same issues. Pallavi began guiding artistes to work on archetypes, flesh out characters’ personalities and create worlds around them. “Since the story was open-ended, we also had input from the teaml.”
Nearly 12 artistes rehearsed for around two months to create imagery with abstract performances. Contact improv games, body percussion (exercises where one uses body parts, hands, fingers, feet and mouth to make music), physical exercises, and a bit of poetry are part of this devised production. Creating an airport scene with a sportswoman and media on stage is Pallavi’s favourite in the play, where ‘an answer’ is symbolically represented with a bottle. “She (sportswoman) is successful in her field and opts for surrogacy. Her point is, ‘I am at a place where I can make this choice. So let me be and don’t judge.’ She tries to come out of the situation by avoiding the ‘bottle’ but news reporters try to get ‘the bottle’.”
How Does My Garden Grow? to be staged at Rangbhoomi Spaces in Gachibowli on September 15 and 16 at 7 .30pm; Tickets: ₹300 on bookmyshow.com