TENDERNESS

Tsiolkas’s Ugly is a study of frustration through the lens of a high-school drop out (Slim), who commits a seemingly senseless act of violence. Patricia’s SLUT takes its cue from a horrific real-life teen shooting spree incident. It generates a fictionalised history of the killer’s ‘lover’, dubbing her ‘Lolita’, and speculates on what kind of personal story might lie behind the tabloid label of a ‘party girl’. Further, ongoing debates generated through trials like the Clementi-Dharun Ravi case unpack issues of race, class, sexual-preference and the role of social media, even as several other teenage testimonies of committing crime are assessed as cases that are ‘deviant’ or ‘individual’. These instances open a disturbing and macabre world of the teenage playground where notions of gender, sexuality, love, aspirations and hate create a world of disorder and chaos. Does being a Youth necessarily mean to be 'volatile"? Is it to be read alongside normative notions of childhood development where we go from being child, teenager to adult in some kind of ahistorical vacuum?

This play situates the brutal world within the undulated expanse of a skatepark, populated primarily by the city’s ‘undesirable elements’. A skatepark, unlike organised sport, has no set arena or rules and has no standard design template. Each park is built specifically to provide unique challenges for aggressive inline skating. Built in a process called ‘design/build’ (constructing one section at a time), the skatepark, then, becomes a site for identity-formation. It provides ‘endless’ lines to ride through, fabricating and discarding notions of selfhood. Inside, characters perform the slippery turf that is adolescence, an intensely contested territory between locations of childhood and adulthood. Here, the teen image contains not only agreement and commonality but the antagonism and contradiction buried within a common experience of becoming an adult. Tenderness - a production which places the two short plays, Ugly and Slut, alongside excerpts from screenplays of KIDS and KEN PARK by Larry Clark - explores the labyrinth that is the contemporary teenage mind.

“We were trying to get to this place—it was me and you, I think, and some other people—and it was a little like my house … Although, well, it was my house, but it didn’t look like my house, somehow. And we were trying not to be seen.” 

Text based on SLUT by Patricia Cornelius and UGLY Christos Tsiolkas | Directed by Amitesh Grover | Acting Coach Tushar Pandey | Space Design by Anagram Architects | Set & Electronic Design by Vishnu Barve | Dance Coach Rajan Rathore | Grafitti by Anpu Varkey | Figurines by Rishu Shankar | Photography by Thyagarajan S

Cast - Kalyanee Mulay, Himanshu Kohli, Sanal N., V. Uto Chishi, Anupam Dutta, Thoudam Victor Singh, Bharati, D. Anthony Janagi. Design Assistants - Sarika Pareek, Jeetrai Hansda

Produced by National School of Drama, India