Our Stage: Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India – Edited by: Sudhanva Deshpande, Akshara K.V. and Sameera Iyengar
Book: Our Stage: Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India
Edited by: Sudhanva Deshpande, Akshara K.V. and Sameera Iyengar
Published by: Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2009.
The first decade of the 21st century changed the fabric of Indian society with the settling in of liberalization, globalization and new age technologies like the internet. Such changes in the economy and social fabric also altered the state of affairs and structures of the Indian cultural scene, especially those of theatre. Editors of the anthology ‘Our Stage: Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India’, Sameera Iyengar, Akshara K. V. and Sudhanva Deshpande set the stage for readers by summarizing the contemporary state of theatre in India as, “And so, miraculously, against all odds, theatre survives. Theatre in India happens anywhere and everywhere – in badly designed auditoria, in schools and colleges, in parks and gardens, in restaurants, on rooftops, in the open fields, on the streetcorner, even sometimes, on moving trains. A neglected stepchild of the Indian arts, theatre has developed the cunning of the street kid – it forages around for morsels, it takes to any space available and makes it its home, it hoodwinks the cop and outsmarts the bully, and, in the hands of someone like Vijay Tendulkar, it is brazen, rude, outspoken, and blunt”(p. 13).
The essays in the edited anthology on six themes of locales, experiments, assertions, pathologies, new realities, and new institutions and training emerged from the discussions, debates and performances which took place as part of the ‘Not the Drama Seminar’ organised by Indian Theatre Forum at Ninasam, Heggodu in March 2008. Written by a mix of theatre practitioners, scholars, administrators, social-scientists and activists, this anthology interrogates the nature and structures of theatre practice in India and analyses the assessments produced from the 1956 Drama Seminar held in Delhi.