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Alkazi Theatre Archives


Drama Scripts and Publication: Assessing Circulation through Theatre Magazines

Theatre magazines and journals provide an inexpensive and available medium of playscript publication, as compared to individual/self publishing; the former expanding the scopes of translations, adaptations and circulation. With unique reach and readership, they carry canonical drama scripts as well as undiscovered plays often paving the way for intercultural and inter-regional exchanges.
The July-August 1980 edition of the Marathi theatre magazine, Bharatashastra carries Act 8 of the play ‘Galileo’ by Bertolt Brecht, translated into Marathi by Rajeev Naik. Whereas, the October-December 1971 issue of Natarang carries the Hindi translation of Girish Karnad’s ‘Hayvadan’ by B. V. Karanth. A 1978 issue of Abhinay Samwad published a one-act play called ‘Edhar Udhar’ by Laldev Bikari from Mauritius.
These theatre magazines not only carried scripts for stage plays but also for traditional forms like Raslila as can be seen in the 42nd issue of Chhayanat (1987). Enact magazine too, carried drama scripts in full, publishing a list of scripts available in their issues.
With reasonable availability of the drama scripts to theatre practitioners, publications like these enable wider opportunities of stage adaptations. Such an analysis is confirmed by the disclaimers published under these scripts about the terms of permission to use the script and some notes on the stage design. For instance, on the first page of the script in Abhinay Samvad one sees a note stating ‘यह नाटक बिना सेट का भी किया जा सकता है लेकिन कोई निर्देशक चाहे तो अपने अनुसार दृश्यबंध का निर्माण भी कर सकता है’ (1978, Abhinay Samwad).
With the advent of the digital media, the literary medium appears to have comparitively gained an egalitarian character despite the restriction of circulation to that section of the public who have access to the internet and language. The publication of Abhishek Majumdar’s SALT in English on the website of the Bengaluru Review (August 13th, 2020), was followed by proliferation of the material into several translations, as well as virtual performances of the play. By looking into the phenomenon of democratization of the circulation of scripts, made possible through online and print publications, it may be possible for one to trace new theatre circuits created through such exchanges and possibly analyse the changing correspondence between performance and the written script.
All Courtesy: Anand Gupt Collection/ Alkazi Theatre Archive