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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Postdramatic Theatre and India: Theatre-Making Since the 1990s

Book: Postdramatic Theatre and India: Theatre-Making Since the 1990s
Written by: Ashis Sengupta
Published by: Bloomsbury Academic (2022)

In ‘Postdramatic Theatre and India: Theatre-Making Since the 1990s’, author Ashis Sengupta expands Hans-Thies Lehmann’s theory of postdramatic theatre and performance — a theatre that did not subscribe to the representational and dramatic form of storytelling and was conceptually based on the post avant-garde movement.The book tries to formulate a historical premise to better understand the distinct relationship that the Indian theatre holds to the post-dramatic; reading its implications in theatre’s wider cultural and aesthetic context. This is explored through devised performances that expand the scope of post-dramatic and redefine it according to the varied socio, political, and cultural conditions and contexts. The performances include theatre solos of Maya Krishna Rao (A Deeper Fried Jam, 2002 and Ravanama, 2011), the ‘theatre of the real’ explored through Anuradha Kapur and Ein Lall’s ‘The Antigone Project’ (2003–4), the documentary-theatre of Amitesh Grover (Notes on Mourning, 2016), Abhilash Pillai’s theatre as media reportage (The Island of Blood, 2003) and his cinematic theatre (Midnight’s Children, 2005), and Deepan Sivaraman’s scenographic theatre (Peer Gynt, 2010 and The Legend of Khasak, 2015).

“The postdramatic in India moves on, defying criticisms of being imitative of the West at the expense of ‘native’ performance traditions. The criticism comes as much from some of the veteran theatre-makers in India as from a section of the audience, who appear fairly conservative in their notions of India and its culture/cultural forms….I would only note at this point that there are also theatre-makers whose works decades ago had in fact brought a non-dramatic idiom into Indian theatre, paving the way for what in contemporary performance parlance can very well be called postdramatic theatre, and a few of whom continue to make theatre far beyond dramatic frames.” (p.45)

Postdramatic Theatre and India- Theatre-Making Since the 1990s