An Arrangement of Shoes – A Theatre Counteract Production in November

Theatre Counteract presents AN ARRANGEMENT OF SHOES
on Tue & Wed, 15 & 16 November 2011 at Ranga Shankara, Bangalore,
followed by Sat & Sun, 26 & 27 November 2011 at Alliance Francaise, Bangalore.

a Theatre Counteract production

Directed and produced by Vivek V. Narayan || Written by Abhishek Majumdar || Performed by Anitha Santhanam || Original music composed and recorded by Kelvin Thomson || Additional text by Anitha Santhanam and Vivek V. Narayan || Videos edited by Chanakya Vyas || Researched by Prathamesh Turaga || Accent coaching by Sandeep Shikhar || Lights by Beary Mustafa and Vivek V. Narayan || Produced by Abhijit Pakrashi, Syed Kazmi, Raghavendra Acharya

About the production

“An Arrangement of Shoes is the story of one family told by Rukhsar, a young small town girl who has moved to Delhi. The setting is early morning, her Dadajaan has passed away and her twin, Nisar, with whom she has a complicated relationship, has just returned from Dubai.    

Unsettled, Rukhsar begins to narrate the story of her beloved Dadajaan and Nisar, her acid-tongued Dadijaan, her timid Ammi and her Abbajaan who worked in Dubai. Troubled by both her Dadajaan’s passing and Nisar’s return, Rukhsar seeks answers to unsolved riddles in her family’s history. And help Nisar find peace in spite of their past.    

 The Theatre Counteract production of An Arrangement of Shoes sets this story of one family against the backdrop of the history of modern India, and the Gulf War. This production asks searching questions about the condition of minority communities in modern India. Our production contextualizes the story of Rukhsar’s family within the depiction of Muslims in mainstream cinema using video projections of Bollywood songs. These videos form a part of Rukhsar mental and emotional landscape, blending in to her story and commenting upon it.

 The play is structured as a non-linear narrative, weaving together ‘flashbacks’ and ‘intercuts’ and ‘closeups’ in the cinematic style so loved by Rukhsar’s family. The same performer plays all the roles in An Arrangement of Shoes, presenting an enormous challenge to the performer and a theatrical event with enormous possibilities.   

 If An Arrangement of Shoes is a story of a family’s love and loss, it is also the story of the shrinking spaces for alternate identities in modern India, one with grave consequences to our nation.  ”

Director’s Note

Woman. Family. Community. Nation.

How does a woman tell her family’s story? How does her life parallel her family’s journey?

How does a family’s journey reflect the transformation of a community?

What does the cultural representation of a community say about the nation to which it belongs?

These are the central questions that drive this production of An Arrangement of Shoes.

At first reading, An Arrangement of Shoes  seems like the simple story of a family narrated by a young Muslim woman, Rukhsar. However, this alone isn’t enough for it to stand as a production in its own right.

It is important to be able to show the relationship between Rukhsar and the larger world to which she belongs. This led us during the rehearsal process to explore the relationship between the personal and the political. In the production, we were keen to expand the spotlight outwards, so to speak: Rukhsar to her family, family to community and community to nation.

Rukhsar’s family is obsessed with cinema. Mainstream Bollywood cinema thus became, for us, a kind of connector between Rukhsar, her family and the larger world as we decided to use Bollywood cinema to explore the faultlines between a community and its representation, and the nation.

In this production, even as Rukhsar narrates her family’s story, the backdrop shows scenes and songs from Bollywood films and television serials that give an insight into the making of modern day India.

Rukhsar’s narration is the story of a nation, and a mirror to our times. 


Tickets are available through Indiastage & Bookmyshow.

Some links

Facebook Page

Theatre Counteract Website




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