Dustbin by Alternative Space Project

On Friday I was invited to a showing of Dustbin, a theater production by Alternative Space Project, at the historic Akshara Theatre of New Delhi. The show was about Shadow Abuse in relationships.

It was a memorable experience. The play was an original piece of work written by Bhavya and Vivek Tyagi. It took an unflinching look at the sense of hopelessness that victims of shadow abuse often experience.

Vinita Samant played the lead role of Shruti and the audience could see her mental condition visibly deteriorate as the evening progressed and the abuse accumulated. Devesh Bhardwaj as her husband Anirudh showed the casual ignorance with which some treat gender inequalities in society today.

Hemank Soni played the dual roles of Nishant and Hemant. He did such a great job that it took me a while to realize it was the same actor. Toshiva Jain as Smriti had the chance to demonstrate her range – from outgoing college girl to tormented housewife to haunting spirit – she was excellent as each.

Tushar Ranga, Yashika, and Dhruv Singh Rajput rounded out the cast and put in memorable performances as distinct characters that we’ll all recognize in our communities and social circles. Jatin Soni provided live music throughout the performance and did a wonderful job of setting the atmosphere. Dhruv Singh Rajput, Kanya, and Arpit Sipani provided overall production support including effective transitions as the play took place across a range of settings.

Vivek Tyagi directed the production (with Samya Khanna as assistant director), and their efforts were rewarded with loud laughter and shocked gasps from the audience. The ultimate sign of the success of the performance though is probably the conversation that my husband and I had about Shadow Abuse in India today on the way back from the theater. It’s exactly these kinds of conversations that I think the team was looking to spark.

Alternative Space Project is planning future showings of Dustbin in Delhi and other cities. You can find updates from them over here.