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Lockdown Blues? Let Lillete Tell A Story

‘The lockdown underlined a lot of things, especially feelings of loneliness.’

“People label you ‘Aruna Irani’ or ‘chulbuli bhabhi‘ or something…they have these little classifications. But I said I’m not going to be in any drawer. I was a theatre actress and I seek variety all the time,” Lillete Dubey says emphatically.

And true to her word, the actress and theatre director gives us a glimpse of the variety she seeks in her world of theatre.

Lillete will stage her 34th play Lockdown Liaisons from November 19, based on a book by Shobhaa De.

She has selected five stories from the 24 in De’s book, which talks about the life-changing experiences that common folk went through during the lockdown.

The stories are fleshed out like monologues, narrated by Lillete, her daughter Ira Dubey and Joy Sengupta.

Just what is Lockdown Liaisons about? Lillete gives us a sneak peek into the five stories:

Vodka And No Tonic
Narrated by Ira Dubey

This story is about a young couple in Gurgaon, who are three weeks into the lockdown.

A lot of relationships went through a lot of pressure during the lockdown. Some survived it well, some came out stronger, some fell apart…

This one is very uncomfortable, as it looks at their relationship and how it starts falling apart.

A Quest Ends
Narrated by Joy Sengupta

This is about a couple in Mumbai. The guy is a Bengali and works in a bank.

They have been wanting to have a child for a long time.

The story looks at how the lockdown has affected their relationship and them wanting a child.

It looks at how people felt stifled during the lockdown.

A Whiff Of Eternity
Narrated by Ira Dubey

This is about a homosexual girl who has not come out to her parents or most of the people around her.

She is going through a terrible breakup.

She used to live in Delhi, far away from family, but now is compelled to move in with them.

She begins the play saying that the lockdown made non-liars of us because I’m not going to pretend anymore.

Leaving
Narrated by Joy Sengupta

This story is seen through the eyes of a migrant.

One of the most important stories that came out of the lockdown was the migrant story. What happened to them was like a slap on our faces about this whole invisible community that lived literally under our building.

They made Mumbai and yet, they remained invisible.

His story is very simple. He’s in a huge dilemma, as he is a construction worker but work has stopped.

He talks about the experience of being a construction worker, being a migrant, what it means, what happened to migrants, what did they do, how they how they tried to leave…

He also talks about how he did everything, taali bhi bajaya or thaali bhi…sab kuch kiya par sarkar ne hamare liya kya kiya?

Lockdown Funeral
Narrated by Lillete Dubey

This is about an elite SoBo lady.

Twelve years into her marriage, her husband had walked out with a woman who she finds completely common and she still can’t believe how a sophisticated man like him would have fallen for someone like her…

They get divorced, and but she’s still living with those memories and regrets, kind of like a Miss Havisham.

He passes away, and that brings her face-to-face with the other woman at his funeral.

The lockdown underlined a lot of things, especially feelings of loneliness.

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