After our first script reading, as I was driving home, I was ruminating about Deepak’s character. Why is Deepak this way? Why does he choose to stand by Mala in spite of what has happened to her and how she treats him? Is it because he loves her and doesn’t want to lose her? That is perhaps part of the reason. But there’s more to it. For Deepak, it is about standing up for what's right as much as it is about standing by the woman he loves.
Society, especially South Asian society, looks at rape and abuse as if they were the victim’s fault. While most people are judging the victim and wondering how she might have provoked the perpetrator, sometimes, there is that special person - not family, but a friend or a lover - someone who doesn’t have to stay, but does. They stand by the victim, support them, give them a shoulder to cry on and take on the world to protect their friend. Deepak is that special person for Mala. He is our “collective conscience” in the play.
Come see me play Deepak in 30 Days in September.
- Shiva Sankaran