Am I A Mass Production Machine? Shobhana and Me
90 mins | Kannada, English | 2022
Am I A Mass Production Machine? Shobhana and Me. Brief preview from premiere show. Production stills.
Am I A Mass Production Machine? Shobhana and Me is a one-woman show written and performed by Shobhana Kumari. Drawing deep from her own life experiences, Shobhana raises grave questions about expectations from women and their bodies in both, private and public domains - how they are commonly viewed and discursively presented in society. The show is structured as multiple, and often mercurial, conversations between Shobhana and different parts of her body. Conversations that swing from raging to humorous, tongue-in-cheek to satirical, light to dark. Through it all, we see a woman who escapes after an abusive marriage, to realise that as a single mother navigating a binary world she must be both, father and mother to her three children. At the same time, as she works with and understands the similar and divergent experiences of transgender folx, Dalit women and sex workers, Shobhana realises that hers is also becoming a gender nonconforming tale in which she is now able to I think about the possibilities of desire and pleasure outside entrenched patriarchal narratives.
I was born and brought up in Bangalore. My family was poor, so growing up we did not have money for my education. So I worked through school and college, and finished my bachelor’s degree. I also learnt typing, and began working in an administrative capacity in several organizations. I was married right after school, but it was an abusive relationship in which I found myself having to handle both childcare and my professional responsibilities together. I am now a single parent to three children. In the last thirteen years, I was forced to remain anonymous in most of the work I did, and missed many opportunities, due to my fear of retaliation and violence from my ex-husband. While much of my work has gone unrecognized in the public, my labour and efforts over the last two decades are also manifest in my children, who are today in secure and successful positions in engineering, medicine and creative work. In addition to the work I do in organising transgender women and queer-identified persons, I have also started working in community theatre projects and have begun using theatre and performance art as an advocacy tool. This has given me a new and wonderful platform to broaden the scope of my activism, and significantly helped me to begin developing my own creative voice.
Shobhana Kumari | Writer, Performer
Shilok Mukkati | Director
Jananie | Music
Rumi Harish, Sunil Mohan, Sharanya Ramprakash | Support