The year is 2004. A young Iranian Kurdish boy in Nottingham whose plea for asylum is under threat of rejection is found with his mouth and eyes painstakingly stitched together with an earnest promise of setting himself on fire if he, an LGBTQ+ youth, would be deported to his native land.
Almost a decade later, director Vikram Pukhan wrote a piece for the National Theatre of Scotland’s The Great Yes, No, Don’t Know Five-minute Theatre Show in 2014 which laid the foundation for the full-length play ‘Those left behind things.’
Initially written as a stream of consciousness monologue of a fictional asylum seeker, the play in its production is a two-hander featuring actors, Gandharv Dewan and Rushab Kamdar as Hamid and another queer boy just like him who must partake the treacherous journey of leaving their country, homes and time zones behind to get to Brighton in hope of leading more equal lives. Between the fear of the terror in the homeland and the alienation of a foreign country, Those Left Behind Things attempts to capture those fleeting moments that give us great evidence of a person’s character.
The play put together by some of the directing assistants and managers from Drama School Mumbai, is a poignant personal narrative that speaks of resilience and vulnerability equally.
Writer and director, Vikram Phukan is a playwright and stage critic. He writes extensively on theatre in print and digital publications. As playwright his credits include Sunil Shanbag’s Hindustani musical Stories in a Song, Manish Gandhi’s Limbo, an Indian adaptation of Arthur Miller’s The Price, and collaborating with the Patchworks Ensemble on The Gentlemen’s Club.
Select performances of Those Left Behind Things accompanied by an exhibition of photographs by Punit Reddy featuring, among others, actor Prashant Prakash. The series is inspired by the play’s themes of migration and assimilation. Art prints by Syed Ali Arif, from his Identity series (acrylic on canvas, 2008), were also be part of the exhibit. The paintings in this series depict how religion impinges upon a person’s individuality.
Watch this space to know when the play will hit your city next!