So who is stopping you ladies?!  
- Pratima Sagar, Hyderabad 
April 21, 2008 

"We can think, we can decide, we can stand..." !!! "Mythologies Retold" culminates with dancers and supporting cast who worked behind the curtains emerging out on stage - singing in chorus, a song of women empowerment, self esteem and self assessment. The colourful production bringing together fashion designer Sandhya Raman and danseuse Geeta Chandran along with a host of petite dancers and theatre artists to review the innate female energies, and an artistic search for female strengths however, falls flat representing the obvious... "Ammavara, where are you, is it you, you, you?!!" howls the Sutradharini.  

The contemporary urban women in the audience could not relate to the woes of these women on stage, which rather seemed outdated. Of foeticides, of female strengths subsumed by a male culture, of a research for emancipated Shaki and all that, while men will find it as a joke for 80% of the urban Indian men want a girl child, and for that matter even girls are most preferred for adoptions. The production might make sense to the rural Indian women in the hinterlands of the country...of male chauvinism and female suppression and inspiring her to realize her innate creative energies, sensibilities... and that the earth being made impure by thousands of female foeticides and the like. But the rural women would appreciate the same if 'Mythologies Retold' was an enchanting folk song and a story telling session in a soothing native language rather than being a garish (Indian) English theatrical dialogue and action... "Ammavara, where have you disappeared, woe, woe!!" cries the Sutradharini.    

Pretty, well groomed and stunningly dressed, Geeta and her dancers failed to relate to the women in distress and remained mere statues on stage, sometimes depicting the five elements of nature or the five senses symbolizing Her very creative form... "I am Viyukta...Sanyukta... goddess within you." Stylized and mystified!! Rashmi Vaidialingam as the sutradhara who sets on stage in search of her Ammavara, remained piercingly loud to put her point across - a point that woman who is the very reason for creating life has lost herself in this male dominating culture and that she has to raise to rediscover her archaic energies (?)- "Ammavara, has there always been an attempt to obliterate women?" complains the Sutradharini. 

The conceptualizer and producer of 'Mythologies Retold,' Sandhya Raman who brings in vinyl prints of select Company Period Paintings of goddesses from the collection of Rasaja Foundation on stage, to juxtapose with dancer Geeta Chandran's stylized interpretation in dance, could not help in alleviating the production to a logical level either. 

"The trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara is given the credit for the creation of the is almost the power of creation, which is so quintessentially female, has been subsumed by a male culture... we discovered that female energy or shakti did exist, but had not paid sufficient attention (a secret unraveled?!!) motivation in this production is to locate  new orientations...". Hence 'Mythologies Retold,' for women who can think, who can decide, who can stand...!!!? 

While you were lucky enough this time to get rave reviews by laymen writers in the local newspapers of the different metros for a glossy and well lit stage craft, and also impress upon a host of sponsors with your "intellectual" ideas... but not the thinking dancing fraternity. Better luck next time sisters!!