Wednesday, December 21, 2016

From The Other Side Of The World

Trans people are everywhere! Anywhere you go in the world there are trans people and some are struggling for their lives. In Pakistan there is a play Teesri Dhun (The Third Tune), The Institute of Sacred Music describes the play…
Four transgender performers from Pakistan take over the Marquand Chapel to share their experiences of being neither man nor woman, in a search for God, love and identity. Through music, dance and storytelling, this documentary theater unfolds narratives of history, separation, desire and celebration as our characters jostle for a third space in a polarized gendered world.

Teesri Dhun is based on research by Shahnaz Khan and Claire Pamment and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. First staged at Lahore Arts Council in 2015 and produced by Olomopolo Media, it now visits the USA with the support of Yale ISM.
Nadia Anwar writes in an article in The Nation that,
Teesri Dhun: Bringing the shadowy world of the transgender community into light
The Third Tune no doubt touched the strings of heart through its disturbing yet highly entertaining and sensational performance at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore

In a society divided on the lines of Self and Other and in which the marginalized communities are still struggling to eke out their existence by creating pockets of resistance against the stereotypical outlook of their more privileged counterparts, being a member of the audience of Teesri Dhun, a performance depicting the struggles of transgender community in Pakistan, had been a startling but fulfilling experience.

The Third Tune no doubt touched the strings of heart through its disturbing yet highly entertaining and sensational performance at Alhamra Arts Council Lahore this Saturday. One of the highlights of the whole performance experience was the strong presence of the transgender community in the hall as members of the audience. The performance, in fact, not only enabled access to a marginalized community into the circles of mainstream audience but also bridged the imaginary gap between the two audiences created through the years of historical misapprehensions.

Clair Pamment and Shahnaz Khan took an important task of exposing the dark realities surrounding the lives of the transgender to the wider public. The effects of the performative actions were optimized by putting up a challenge to concepts and socio-cognitive constructs such as mardangi, sharam, and izzat.

The third tune brought the shadowy world of transgender community into light as well as suggested the change in mind-sets reflective of how we perceive things and phenomena by shutting doors to more inclusive alternatives. The effort allowed an interstitial space both for the socially acceptable and marginalized communities to get together under one roof and allow the ‘Other’ to become a part of their world by shedding all fears and ill wills.
The play was performed here in the U.S. at several colleges around the U.S. including Yale. I wish I know about then because I probably would have gone to see it.

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