Though one of the greatest defenders of democracy, her own life is a starkillustration of the oppressive potential of unbridled power. Director Prakash Belawadi and actor and danseuse Rukmini Vijayakumar bring the story of Myanmarese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Richard Shannon’s play The Lady of Burma.
Based on the life and memoirs of this iron-willed woman, the one-act solo play unfolds in a hospital wing of the Insein Prison in Yangon, Myanmar, following an assassination attempt on Suu Kyi in 2003. Vijayakumar plays Suu Kyi, a woman who has been forced into solitary confinement for most of her adult life, and deprived of family and all freedom.
While it is indeed based on the life of an important and eminent political figure, the play is essentially more of intense personal ruminations of the character. “I chose to play the character because I found it was a story worth telling. It is an issue that not many people even know about even though it is so close home to our country,” says Vijayakumar.
The play was staged in Bangalore as part of the Habba festival in September last year, and will be staged at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai this month.
The Lady of Burma is scheduled at Experimental Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai, on 25 September, 7pm, and 26 September, 6.30pm.