ON STAGE: The Village at Theatre Royal Stratford East

“When justice is impossible, because savage force rules

Isn’t our duty to oppose, not stay tyranny’s rules?”

– Jyoti, The Village

Adapted from Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna by April De Angelis, and transported to contemporary India, Nadia Fall directs The Village – on at Royal Stratford East until 3rd October 2018 – which opens her inaugural season as Artistic Director of the theatre.

The Village tells the story of Jyoti (Anya Chalotra), a beautiful, witty and apparently disillusioned  woman who, surrounded by the knit community of Sahaspur, lives a relatively quiet life: hard work, simple pleasures and live off the earth. When Farooq (Scott Karim), a Muslim idealist fellow villager, confesses his love to her, celebrations begin. But corruption, violence and brutality linger around them, because The Inspector (Art Malik), who satisfy is desires with the women of the village, unpunished, makes of Jyoti his most craved price. When Farooq takes a stand to protect the woman he loves, the situation unravels, violence spreads and the women of Sahaspur plot their revenge…

Set in contemporary India, The Village fearlessly explores themes such as rape, torture, police brutality, corruption and religion, and drags the audience into a powerful and often painful journey into women’s life. Intense, brilliantly written, directed and acted, the play pulses of an unsung rage and confronts the audience and civil society with a difficult question: “Are we supposed to submit to evil?” asks Jyoti in the closing scene “Obeying the law of a lawless devil?”.

When justice is stained with violence and corruption, is it not out duty, as citizens, to fight for what’s right?

By condemning violence against women, police brutality and corruption in India, The Village gives voice to a complex and horrific epidemic of hatred and fear, a system fuelled with greed and intolerance that finds its roots in inequality and capitalism and spreads its branches in every aspects of social life.

When corruption and abuse lie at the very core of a system supposedly designed to protect the vulnerable but ends up being the very tool through which that corrupt power manifests itself and mercilessly rules, unity is the only weapon left to the powerless.

Sahaspur becomes the epitome of the oppressed who stand and face the power with the only tool left to them: numbers.

Sahaspur becomes a mantra, a code, a metaphor and a chant for freedom.

When hope is lost, and darkness lingers, remember Sahaspur, remember its meek people who turned into an army and defeated the venomous power of tyranny and impunity.

Masterfully crafted and intensely felt, The Village reminds us of a system that’s unfair, of the victims of these system, who are the most vulnerable.

But in never ceases to remind us that no matter how powerless we might feel, nobody can free us but ourselves. We are, and we’ll always be, the sole agents of our own liberation.  The Village is on until Sat 6 Oct. Get your tickets here now! 

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