This multimedia piece is writer and performer Annie George’s deeply personal journey into her family history. Using a combination of spoken word, video projection, evocative black and white photographs and musical soundscapes, this one-woman show explores the lives of George’s family in Kerala and how they are interconnected with a politically and socially changing India.
A sparse but arresting set of two chairs draped with a sari and a shawl initially creates a beautiful image of a traditional Keralan home. As the performance begins, a video projection of a hand carefully drawing George’s family tree appears, cleverly suggesting the idea of going back in time, searching for answers. More images appear throughout the performance: of old colonial houses, portraits of relatives and even one of Nehru addressing a crowd. Like a multi-sensory scrapbook, fragments of memory appear and disappear.
George portrays herself and various members of her family using simple props to make the transitions. Using a vibrant red sari, a brown shawl and a pair of black-rimmed glasses, she takes us on the journey between the generations, from engagements and dowries to Independence. However, George’s restrained performance and lack of physicality at times made it difficult to believe in the characters and ultimately follow their stories.
The Bridge would certainly benefit from a more dynamic performance. However, there are also elements of great beauty in this production, particularly the thoughtful soundscapes and imagery, which blend together seamlessly, conjuring up a fascinating chapter in both personal and political history.