Queens of drag
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Gender is a spectrum—that’s the idea Tape Aka The Gentleman’s Club wants to highlight. Presented by Mumbai-based Patchworks Ensemble, in association with Bengaluru-based arts collective Sandbox Collection, this 70-minute production is set in the thriving underground club scene in Mumbai and follows the lives of various drag kings in the city.
The English play, which is being presented in Bengaluru for the first time, has a five-member female cast. “This imaginary world explores what it is like for a woman to be a man of style,” says Nimi Ravindran, co-founder of the Sandbox Collective. It first premiered last year in Mumbai.
It gives “a peek into drag kings and how they perform”, says Puja Sarup, who has conceptualized the show along with Sheena Khalid, Rachel D’Souza and Vikram Phukan.
The central character, Rocky aka Shammsher, is a “drag persona inspired by (Hindi actor) Shammi Kapoor, because he is such a non-hero sort of guy”, says Sarup, who essays the role. “This is a tribute to his masculinity, which is very different from the stereotyped notion of masculinity today,” she says, adding, “He had a beautiful madness, and he danced so well.”
There are other drag kings who flit in and out of the play.
Through a mélange of dialogue, music and cabaret, the motley troupe of women takes you straight into a secret world and shows how they celebrate their masculinity.
Tape Aka The Gentleman’s Club will be staged on 28 May, 3.30pm/7.30pm, at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar, and on 29 May, 7pm, at Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, Indiranagar, Bengaluru. Tickets, Rs.250 and Rs.300, available on in.bookmyshow.com