What’s in a Name?
22 mins | English | 2021
Trailers. Production stills. Online discussion with Sabika Abbas at the Premiere of What's in a Name?
The performance piece, What’s in a Name? is based on lived realities and experiences around the writer’s Muslim identity, and the delicate complications arising from the dual need to preserve and assimilate. Written as a monologue, it deals with the protagonist’s entrenched fear of hellfire on having deviated from normative expectations by offering the namaaz while menstruating. Through meandering trajectories of thought, the character arrives at an understanding of her person and the choices she has exercised, while a series of childhood memories (parallel to the fear of hell) permeate the frames. Using the room the writer has spent most of the pandemic period in as staging ground for the protagonist’s reflections, the piece explores the accounts of a young Muslim woman attempting to navigate dominant spaces that are not designed to accommodate her. In a conscious departure from representations of Muslim women that conform to or border on the stereotype, this story is centred on the character in all her inconsistencies, dilemmas, rage and failures—as one staking a claim to space. The room is where the character brings her observations to fruition; it is where her thoughts brew. Time is marked not by a clock, but by the azaan from the nearby mosque. The concentrated attention to the room and its elements, as well as the character’s intimate relationship with them shape the monologue as an internal dialogue anchored on site.
An independent writer and performer, Najrin gravitates towards solo-performance writing, and is currently cultivating her practice through collaborative networks. Her last public performance was a showcase of the monologue Salt by playwright Abhishek Mjumdar as part of ‘Thespo Tapri’, a showcase of digital solo performances by Thespo, Mumbai, in 2020. She completed her M.A. in Arts and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Najrin Islam | Writer, Performer
Annette Jacob | Video Director & Editor
Suvani Suri | Sound Designer
Sarba Roy | Production Assistant