What is the meaning of the word ‘liberation’? Its connotations are several, open to all kinds of interpretations from men and women of all colours and creeds. Is there a ‘real picture’ of liberation? Can it ever mean one thing, and isn’t the fuzziness of meaning a liberating facet of the word itself? That is the answer that Ishwar Shunya in his play, Nine Parts of Desire, tries to seek. Shunya says the play, which is making its debut in the Capital and is directed by Kanchan Ujjal Singh, is an attempt to find a catharsis for the lack of female agency in today’s world.
‘The play is based on nine stories of nine Iraqi women post or during the Gulf War. The play embodies the argument of what liberation means for each of the women. Inspired by the work of Geraldine Brooks and Heather Raffo, it is a portrait of the extraordinary (and ordinary) lives of Iraqi women - a sexually alluring painter, a radical Communist, doctors, exiles, wives and lovers. It portrays the many conflicting aspects of what it means to be a woman in a country overshadowed by war,’ says Shunya.
The nine monologues span through different situations, varied sufferings, both imaginary and real, of the nine characters. It further explores love, life, desires, wishes and whims seen from the women’s perspective. ‘One of the nine characters is an innocent child who lives her strife-ridden life in the war-struck Iraq. There is lament for how American forces, under the garb of welfare, have only carried out vested interests for their own countrymen,’ he added.