Black, White Etc.

Play Review: Black, White Etc.

by Shraddha Kaur

The in-house play production Black White Etc was a great show put up by the students of the psychology department at LSR. The effort that went into the direction, acting, scripting, stage management, etc goes to show the commitment of the team. The best part for me was that it was not watered-down for a layman audience. It was a play meant for psychologists, and I was glad that some “jargon” had been maintained in the student-teacher conversations.

Since the play left us off on the note of an ‘abusive mother’, I’d like to start my comment from there. From my understanding of the few comments that the audience made after the closing of the play, it seemed to me that the mother’s point of view was deemed as important if not more important than the child’s point of view. While I am in complete agreement with this, I was left with a nagging doubt of whether we are now in the danger of extending this argument to the ‘abusive mother’.

Did the audience feel that just because a mother is a mother, she has a greater right to control the experiences the child goes through, even if they may include abuse? Although this point was not directly addressed, I fear that this was the accepted undercurrent in some of yesterday’s comments. I am of a slightly different opinion, and I feel that spelling it out is necessary to, at the very least, make the audience aware of this.

Abuse is abuse. It is as “incorrect” if it comes from a mother as it is if it comes from a stranger. If the mother (or indeed any primary caregiver) has a rationale behind bringing up the child in a certain manner, and if this rationale may not be accepted by the larger society, culture, and/ or law, then it is rightly called abuse, and it is most definitely “bad”.

If we say that a mother has the right to (at the cost of great simplification) “live a life” beyond her child and not be reduced to the role of “only a mother”, we should also keep in mind that she should not be pardoned for wrongfulness simply because she is a mother. And this is my small comment on yesterday’s play.

(Black, White Etc. is a play directed by Bani Malhotra, Psychology 3rd year student at Lady Shri Ram College. The play was performed on October 31, 2012 as a part of the Mental Health Awareness Week.)

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