By Shwetha T


October being the World Breast Cancer Awareness month, annual programmes around the globe are organised to increase awareness about the disease. While most women are in the know of what breast cancer is, they still skip going to a doctor and getting a mammogram done which in turn delays the identification of the cancer at the initial stages.

Awareness programmes 

With a view of extending moral and practical support to the survivors and the struggling, many organizations including NGOs, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer Federations, etc. of various countries come up with strategies to conduct awareness programmes. The pink colour ribbon, which is a symbol of the international breast cancer awareness, is worn by many in the month of October, to support those who have survived breast cancer or have lost someone to it.

Promoting the same message, while Hyderabad’s Secretariat and the Buddha statue at Hussain Sagar lit up in pink on 2nd October this year, the University of Hyderabad staged a play under the collaboration of the Department of Communication and the Centre for Women’s Studies. Performed in the month of September as a precursor to the breast cancer awareness month,  ‘Half a Cup full’ was a production staged by The Torn Curtains, a theatre troupe that was established in the year 1971 with a view to provide a platform for innovative theatre performances.

The performance

The play, which was performed in two parts, ‘Don’t edit me’ and ‘Goodbye’, unfolded the power of theatre as an efficient tool in fighting social stigmas and taboos, in this case, breast cancer. The efforts of the playwright, Nirati Agarwal, and the director, Mala Pasha, gave an insight into the recognition and post-recognition period of the disease. The play was also appreciated for demystifying a disease that is often regarded as scary and deadly.

“We address social causes through our performances and ‘The Storms Within’ (another performance), which raises a voice against social violence is in the making,” said Mala Pasha, the director and the founder of The Torn Curtains.

Two acts to the play

The first part of the play, ‘Don’t edit me’, portrayed women who have formed a breast cancer therapy group and meet every month to discuss the disease and share their joys, sorrows and anxieties. The emotions were efficiently carried to the audience by the actors; Anjum Pasha, Unnati Ved, Pashmi and Madhuri Dempsey. ‘Goodbye’ was a monologue enacted by Mala Pasha. Her monologue expressed the agony of a woman on being affected by breast cancer.

‘Half a Cup Full’, took the audience through the anxieties, insecurities and sorrows of breast cancer patients and ultimately left them moved by the spirit of fighting shown by these women. It also served as a wake-up call to those who have ignored, neglected or underestimated people afflicted with cancer.

Many means of awareness

Apart from powerful performances like these, there are videos that are found on the internet in connection with the Breast Cancer Awareness month, too. One of the popular video featured on the official website of Breast Cancer Campaign, talks about incorporating the colour pink in multiple strata of our lives. It also highlights the importance of medical screening for an early detection of breast cancer.

So the call of the hour this October, and afterwards, for all you women and men out there will be to ensure that the symptoms of breast cancer are made known to all women and insist on the relevance of timely mammograms. After all, early detection is half a cure!