09 December 2013, KATHMANDU – Digging the stories from someone’s personal life is a very risky and almost impossible job to accomplish, but if there is so much to tell then there are people to come out and tell their stories says Archana Thapa. A writer who seek stories from women and write about women and their stories came up with book form to tell the stories of hundreds of women who is suffering from the male dominated society in Asian countries specially in Nepal and India.
“Telling a Tale,” published by Akshar Creations and edited by Archana Thapa, is a compilation of memoirs and narratives of different Nepali women. The book that received good reviews from readers and critics is now being transformed into a play. Some of the stories are being enacted in theater on December 6, 7 and 8 at Theater Village, Uttar Dhoka. Archana Thapa, the volume’s editor and compiler, talked to The Week about the book and its theater adaptation.
What is “Telling a Tale” all about?
It’s a collection of subjective experiences and personal stories of Nepali women that they feel comfortable to share in public. The storytellers all come from diverse social, cultural, academic and economic backgrounds.
How did you get the idea to come up with this book?
I have always felt that women in our society have so much to tell. But these stories never come out. So I thought that these stories should see the light of the day and be read and preserved for the generations to come.
How did you convince all the women to speak so openly about themselves?
It was really difficult at first. Many of them backed out at the last moment after having second thoughts. But many women came forward with their stories and contributed with confidence and courage.
How long did you take to complete this book?
It took me two years to complete this book.
Is your book inclusive in terms of its narratives?
I’ve incorporated narrators from the age group of 14 to 60. They come from different socio-cultural backgrounds. They belong to different professions. But they all live in a man’s world, and their stories need to find a place for themselves in it.
How did it get adapted into a play?
I give the credits to Dr Deborah Merola, a Senior Fulbright Professor, who read it a while ago and came to me with the proposal to make a play out of it. She worked on the script and now it’s ready to be performed on stage as a One World Theater production.
Who are the performers?
There’s a good group of professional actors, amateurs and community actors along with young schoolgirls who have worked hard to dramatize the narratives. Each person has taken up a character in the narratives and is playing their part after being auditioned for it. Some narrators are performing too. They are playing themselves on stage.
How was your own experience of acting?
I had never acted before. But then, aren’t we all acting in real lives too? This time, I was doing it on stage. And it was great fun.
Do you plan to publish a second part to “Telling a Tale”?
After the first part was read and appreciated, even those who withdrew their stories earlier wished to tell their tales. There are more women willing to come up with their stories. So, now, I’m definitely planning to compile a second part.
What message do you want to give to the readers and audience through “Telling a Tale”?
People have tales to tell as long as they are alive and breathing. We, as human beings, have all the right to express and emote. “Telling a Tale” is just a tribute to that.
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