Q&A: Free Outgoing

Anusree Roy and Sanjay Talwar share their thoughts on double standards, digital indiscretions and their roles in Nightwood Theatre’s latest production

Presented by Nightwood Theatre
Written by Anupama Chandrasekhar
Directed by Kelly Thornton

Anusree Roy

In the age of “sexting” and cyber bullying, one carelessly shared photo or text message can result in devastating consequences for the parties involved. This is especially true for young women in any society, but particularly challenging when set against the conservatism of a traditional country such as India—a scenario that Anupama Chandrasekhar explores in her play Free Outgoing. This month, Nightwood Theatre is presenting the North American premiere of Chandrasekhar’s critically-acclaimed show in a new production directed by Kelly Thornton at Factory Theatre Mainspace.

Here, we chat with performers Anusree Roy and Sanjay Talwar about their experiences working on this timely piece.

Theatromania: How would you describe Anupama Chandrasekhar's Free Outgoing in a few sentences?

AR: I would describe Chandrasekhar’s play as a powerful piece of work that deals with the consequences of a teenager's actions. It’s a fascinating take on what happens when a 15 year old girl is filmed during a sexual indiscretionthe play takes place in six days.

ST: A mother's fight to protect her children and herself. A very real story about how the online world can very quickly, and very deeply impact the real one, and that impact still can carry tremendous double standards based on gender.

Theatromania: Can you each tell us something about your roles in the story and what you have learned about your characters?

AR: I play the part of Malini, a widowed, late 30s single mom who is working long hours and has two jobs to support her family. I love this charactershe is a ferocious lion and is doing the best that she can.

ST: Ramesh is a colleague of Malini's, and an admirer, who's not the most gifted socially. I've learned that he really connects to the theme in the play of the virtual vs. the real as his expectations, hopes, and understanding of the various situations he finds himself in are very disconnected from their reality.

Theatromania: What are some of the challenges you've experienced during this process?

AR: It’s been a great process actually. I am fascinated and always amazed by the amount I am learning each day. It’s an honour to share the same stage with Sanjay Talwar again.

ST: So many, as usual. In this case, finding the right sound for the character, and trying to manifest a quite internal character. Finding ways to mesh his story with that of the play and be true to both...and trying to make that interesting enough to hold people's attention for the whole show...

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

AR: I think each and every audience member will have a unique reaction to the issues being discussed and therefore will take away a different message. But I think, everyone will examine questions like: What if this was my kid? How do we keep safe in a tech-addicted society? What would I do?

ST: I hope it initiates, or deepens and enriches a conversation about the way social media can affect the real world, and underlines the unacceptability of society's double standard when it comes to male and female sexuality and practices.

Free Outgoing runs from January 28 to February 16 at Factory Theatre Mainstage. Visit nightwoodtheatre.net for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2014-01-28 - Sun, 2014-02-16



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