Art and Resistance: Studies in Modern Indian Theatres
Book: Art and Resistance: Studies in Modern Indian Theatres
Edited by: Dorothy Figueira
Published by: Peter Lang, 2019
The book ‘Art and Resistance: Studies in Modern Indian Theatre,’edited by Dorothy Figueira, explores the origin of modern Indian theatre in Classical Sanskrit drama and dramaturgy. The book questions the historiography of the terms ‘modern’ ‘Indian’ and ‘theatre’. In the context of literary theory and postcolonial studies, Figueira asks, “how do we define modernity and nationhood?” The book is divided into two parts comprising five and nine chapters.
First part, ‘Troupes/Troops’ examines the folk and agit-prop troupes, analogous to the troops of our military, that contributed to the creation of a modern and “engaged” Indian theatre tradition. E.V. Ramakrishnan begins the part with the premise of tracing the history of modern Indian theatre back to the classical Sanskrit theatre. Suchetana Banerjee then examines the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) as the first national-level theatre movement in India, while Maya Pandit’s essay compares the developments in Maharashtrian Dalit theatre.
Second part, ‘Soldiers’ examines the commentary of the individual playwrights who tried to establish a new Indian theatre along various activist and regional lines. For instance, Geoffrey Davis examines Girish Karnad’s play The Dreams of Tipu Sultan. Dorothy Figueira then follows this investigation of Karnad’s historical drama with an essay on the use of myth in Hayavadana. Moreover, Suchetana Banerjee offers a comprehensive overview of the work of Habib Tanvir, whom she sees as developing a new theatrical language, while Aparna V. Zambare opens with a brief examination of Marathi folk theatre before examining Satish Alekar’s ‘Mahanirvan’ (The Dread Departure) and its commentary on religion, social dilemmas. Sumitra Thoidingjam examines the Lal Haraoba, a folk performance in Manipur and studies the two eminent theatre practitioners, Ratan Thiyam and Heisnam Kanhailal.
“…a possible frame of reference might emerge in the pluralities that configure all cultural expressions, including rituals, in postcolonial modernities” (p.318).Art and Resistance- Studies in Modern Indian Theatres