Controversial play ‘Agnes of God’ being staged at NCPA

The controversial play ‘Agnes of God’ which is about a catholic nun giving birth claiming immaculate conception will be staged at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), Nariman Point on Monday (October 5) evening.

While catholic groups have opposed the play saying it defames the clergy who take a vow of celibacy, the NCPA claimed that it has been certified by the censor board. Security has been put in place for the play. “We are very clear about having the play. It will be a free show and we do not intend to offend anybody’s feelings,” NCPA director KN Santook said.

Both the opponents and organisers are looking forward to the State government to step on their side. Catholic groups have sought a meeting with the state minority affairs minister Eknath Khadse seeking a ban on the shows, according to a report in a leading daily.

“We are going to call for a complete ban as liberalism can be no excuse for tarnishing somebody’s image,” said an official from the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI).

Kaizaad Kotwal, the play’s director will also be at the meeting along with his lawyer to ensure that there are no disruptions. “We do not want any interruptions and hence the dialogue is really important,” said Sujay Kantawala, the director’s lawyer.

The play’s producers said shows had been planned in Hyderabad, Kerala and abroad. “We will plan the schedule for more shows in the city after taking a look at Monday’s scene,” said Mahabanoo Mody Kotwal, who plays the main character in the play.

The play has stirred a debate and not all Catholics are for a ban. “We are living in a new age with time and need to encourage liberalism,” said Joseph Pereira, a resident of Colaba. However, Amy Fernandez, a resident of Bandra, disagreed. “Artistic license or freedom cannot be allowed to disturb public order or create unrest,” she said.

The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), the group which first called for a ban, was uncertain about being able to meet the minister. “Other Catholic groups who are protesting against the play will surely go but we are not sure and are still trying to seek an appointment with the minister,” said Joseph Dias, the general secretary of CSF.