February 20, 2018 - 6:00pm
Speaker/Participants: Ponni Arasu
Location: Charity Randall Theatre, Stephen Foster Memorial
Sponsored by the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program; the Indo-Pacific Council (INPAC); the Asian Studies Center; the Department of Theatre Arts; and the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
Karuppi (The Dark Woman) is a one-woman performance in English/Tamil/Creole performed by Ponni Arasu.
The play, originally created in Tamil, is a collection of writing by and about Tamil speaking women who traveled across oceans from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka for work or were displaced by war. The script consists of poetry, traditional folk songs, excerpts from short stories and government documents. The stories date back to the early 19th Century to the present day. While translating the play in English, the Marapachchi team found that the play works on many registers. While the play is about Tamil-speaking women, the incidents and stories may resonate with other contexts and histories.
Karuppi is a production of Marapachchi Theatre, a feminist theatre collective based in Madras, India. The play is mostly in English with some Tamil sections. Written translation of Tamil will be provided.
Ponni Arasu is a queer feminist researcher, historian, and activist from Tamilnadu, India. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of Toronto and holds a Masters in History from Jawaharlal Nehru University, as well as a Bachelor degree in Law. Ponni has worked on issues related to sexuality, labour, law and caste in South Asia as an activist, researcher and legal practitioner. She has worked in multiple capacities as an activist and theatre practitioner in northern and eastern Sri Lanka for the past twelve years. Her last major project was to initiate the creation of an archive of oral history on women in social movements in different parts of India in the 1970s. This project was commissioned by the Indian Association of Women Studies and Zubaan Books. Her PhD research addresses the history of Tamil Nadu in Southern India (1950-70) studying the formation of publics from a gender perspective.