That's the name of the girl I play in My Mother Said I Never Should/Ma Bolechhe Korishna. Let me tell you something about this girl.
She was born in the mid '70s and became a young mother in the early '90s, when she was still in college. Many of you who read this blog belong to her times, have known girls like her. Young, eager to please, quick to rebel and ineffectively repentant.
Playing her is not easy because part of being Payal is not showing what is within. There are too many secrets she thinks only she can contain. Moreover, she is the only one who is never shown alone barring a quick minute with a howling baby. There is so much that she leaves outside the family that when she is with her mother, her grandmother, her own daughter, she becomes the person who reacts. The one time she does speak out, she is constantly catching herself up, trying to fit her narrative to her listener. It would be easy to make her the martyr but she's not that either.
My mother saw the play and said it was like re-living my teens (not the best part of her life). My father disliked it, for, I suspect, similar reasons! Others have praised it all: the acting, the music, lights, the script, everything.
You know, you all know how hard hard I have fought this role. I love it but it's scary for me for many personal reasons. The first couple of shows I continued to fight it -- and I could feel myself fighting it. The last two shows I finally walked into the pain. It showed. And it's taking an immense toll on me as old wounds open once more. Last night I cried like a baby behind the flats (backstage).
I know that's what theatre is all about. I've been here before. But it seems to me like it's never hurt so much before. For the first time in my life I have dropped all the metaphorical plates. On show days I stay in bed or do nothing much. I have been kind to myself these few months like I rarely am. If I cannot handle something, I let it be. That has meant the boys existing in a jumbled household that frequently runs out of food, laundry and groceries. Bills go missing. Blogposts never got written. Calls remained unmade. I'm not proud of any of it. But this, like all the good stuff, I wanted recorded here.
Those of you who worry: there will be a happier post up next, I promise.