Body Politics Festival | Be Careful / ONASSIS CULTURAL CENTRE

Be Careful

Mallika Taneja

Body Politics

26-27 OCT 2018

The performance is in English

Upper Stage
Duration: 40 minutes
What’s it like to live as a woman in one of those countries where, no matter how much violence is directed at you by men, you are considered the only guilty party? And, how many clothes you have to wear in order to prevent manly violence? Mallika Taneja forcefully and with irony combats this reality in her art.
Onassis Stegi Friends presale: from 2 OCT 2018, 12:00
General presale: from 9 OCT 2018, 12:00

Full price: 7 €
Reduced, Friend & Groups 5-9 people: 6 €
Groups 10+ people, People with disabilities - Companions & Unemployed: 5 €

Group ticket reservations at
In a country where women are continually exposed to the danger of male violence, the only advice given to girls is to “be careful,” to not provoke. The victims of violence are often blamed for being provocative, while no man is held accountable, despite the powerful feminist movement that has grown up to try and find modes of resistance through art and social action. How does it feel to try to shake free of taboos and speak openly about your body and your identity as a woman in a country where the female body is itself an enormous taboo? Or to be weighted down by an injustice you can’t express in a society that orders you to keep quiet and hide in order to survive? How can art bring about social change?

Mallika Taneja summons the courage to speak about all this using her last recourse, her body itself, in a spare, powerful performance. In traditional Indian acting troupes, actors travel from village to village, becoming one with their roles, step by step as they trace the entire country. Mallika Taneja, too, has been “living” this performance for over five years, courageously baring her body and, with the insistence of one drowning in injustice, to seek justice at all costs


Concept and performed by: Mallika Taneja
The show was first created at the Tadpole Repertory as part of their show "NDLS".

Friday 26 October
After performance talk with the choreographers of "FARCI.E", "Be Careful" and "Macho Dancer". The talk will take place after the end of "FARCI.E".
Moderated by Nadja Argyropoulou, independent curator

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Mallika Taneja is a theatre artist living and working in Delhi, India. Her work focuses at the intersections of body, cities and gender. Her piece, “Be Careful”, has been performed in India and internationally for the past five years. She is currently working on a new piece, ‘Allegedly' (working title), that examines how the judiciary and the medical systems deal with cases of sexual violence.

Displaying a naked female body even in a theater is something almost unheard of in Indian society. Before Mallika there were only two prior instances. In 2000, the well-known actress Sabitri Heisnam, playing Draupadi in a theatrical piece directed by her husband Kanhailal, threw off her clothes while confronting her rapists on stage. Four years later, twelve Manipuri women bared themselves in a protest at the Kangla Fort, a major attraction in Imphal. “These women taught me about the power of the naked body in protest,” Mallika Taneja says. “That event remained etched in my memory, deeply affecting everything I do.”
Women in India encounter violence in all its forms. Sexual violence often results in the death of the victims or, if they survive, their physical, psychological, and social disintegration.
After the violent gang rape of a university student in New Delhi in 2012, which resulted in her death, women all over the country mobilized, and were joined by public outcry from abroad. Measures taken by the administration appear not to have been sufficient. A few months ago, a survey of global experts conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation into the abuse of women named India the most dangerous of all countries belonging to the United Nations as regards the safety of women. The Indian government protested strongly and launched a campaign to advertise the safety of women in the country. And yet the problems persist…
In 2016 over 100 rapes were reported to the authorities each day, of which 6% involved girls under 12 years of age. The actual number of rapes is believed to be much higher, as many victims do not have the courage to report them, either because of intimidation by their rapists, or because of social outrage that incriminates women.
“India is ranked 125 out of 159 countries in the Gender Inequality Index in the Human Development Report 2015, compiled by the United Nations Development Programme. If the Indian state is serious about reducing incidence of violence against women, it needs to address the causes of violence,” said Asmita Basu, programmes director of Amnesty International india, in an interview with the Independent.

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