Firefly Women is a website based digital theatre piece spread over 5 days. It is an artistic response to letters written from jail by two young women, wrongly incarcerated under a draconian law and explores ideas of feminist utopia, such as Rokaya Sakhawat Hossain’s short story, “Sultana’s Dream”. The piece takes you through the letters and the fictional landscape of the short story as they make inroads into feminist solidarity, resilience and hope in these dark times.
“2020 was the year of being falsely framed and arrested under UAPA, it was also the year of encountering rainbows in the skies, the polluted skies of the old city, to have found one, even in jail. Now, we wait for a firefly.” - Devangana Kalita in a letter written from Tihar Central Jail, New Delhi, 23rd May 2021
Firefly Women is work in five chapters:
Chapter 1: Dreaming up Futures
Chapter 2: Hum Gunahgaar Aurtein
Chapter 3: Un-Caging
Chapter 4: The Outside
Chapter 5: Songs of Solidarity
Epilogue: The Journey Home
Manjari K | Performer & Director
Trishna Senapaty | Researcher
Nisha Abdulla | Dramaturg
Alia Sinha | Illustrator and set designer
Neel Chaudhuri | Sound Designer
Kiran Naig | Camera
Tamanna Chhabra | Therapist / Contact for internal complaints
About the artists
Manjari K is a Delhi based performer, director and teacher. She graduated from the DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre (2015) and holds a Master’s degree from The School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Some of her latest work includes dramaturgy and performance in “Whirlpool” a play based on the life and works of George Orwell, (directed by John Britton, produced by The Company Theatre). In 2017, she directed, and led a month long course in Performance making, “00101010”, a Devised piece about gender identity in cyberspace, performed by the students of Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bangalore. She directed and performed in “UpRoute”, a Devised Ensemble Physical Theatre piece based on the theme of home and exile. “Chronicle of a Death Foretold”, based on the novella by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a show directed and performed by her which has travelled to London, Athens, Delhi, Bangalore and Lucknow. Manjari’s work is dedicated to exploring the incongruous, fragmentary, disruptive, off-key and awkward in Theatre and live performance. She is interested in the co-existence of different forms, patterns, languages of movement and speech, and in creating possibilities for intersections, and parallels. Gender, sexuality and memory have for particular prominence in her work.
Trishna Senapaty is a researcher and poet who is pursuing a PhD in Social Anthropology. She studies the carceral state, prisons and the shifting horizon of anti-carceral organizing in India. A member of Delhi- based theater collective Improper Fractions with whom she works as a dramaturg, she enjoys musing and writing in all its different shapes, forms and tenses.
Nisha Abdulla is a Bangalore based playwright, dramaturg, and director working in the intersections of theatre, community, and education. She is the Artistic Director of Qabila where her anti-oppressive arts practice centers the dissenting body-imagination and new writing. Nisha is also a member of OffStream, an artist collective that seeks to build a community around anti-caste art. Her previous work includes Mi'raj, Orchestra on the Moon, Ashk Neele Hain Mere, Koottu, and Body Remembers. She is currently working on a performance that explores the listening body as a site of resistance.
Alia Sinha is an illustrator, visual artist and theatre practitioner based in Delhi. She is deeply interested in collaborative art-making and obsessed with fungi, ghosts and bees.
Neel Chaudhuri is a playwright and theatre director based in New Delhi. Currently, he works with The Tadpole Repertory and Aagaaz Theatre Trust, and teaches at Ashoka University and Drama School Mumbai. Neel recently performed and produced The Morning Broadcast, a set of daily sound musings for the Spielart Festival. His most recent directorial venture is Rihla, an adaptation of Andreas Flourakis’ I Want A Country with Aagaaz Theatre Trust (Delhi).
Kiran Naig is a Chennai based filmmaker, researcher and performer. He did his Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Madras and has studied acting at the Duende School of Ensemble Physical Theatre. He directed a micro non-fiction series called Stray Stories based on stories from the margins of Chennai. He has worked on a true crime documentary as researcher/ achieve resource for an OTT platform.
Tamanna is a psychologist who has been practicing with individuals from diverse backgrounds and across ages for around a decade in New Delhi and in New York. Her education spans counseling and clinical psychology and she has worked with organizations (schools, NGOs, Hospitals) to train and sensitize staff. She provides culturally sensitive interventions and is an LGBTQ+ friendly therapist. She presently works with college students across the NYC area.