Towards a Revolutionary Theatre
Book: Towards a Revolutionary Theatre
Written by: Utpal Dutt
Published by: Seagull Books, 2009
Written in 1982, ‘Towards a Revolutionary Theatre’ explores how the socio-political influences present at a time creates contradictions between the actor’s personality and his roles. In examining these contradictions, Utpal Dutt narrates how new political and social idioms and new forms are nurtured, how the text and mode of representation also evolve as the outcome of the conflicts within an artist(s). Using his expansive reading and understanding of world history, theatre and literature, Dutt debates the nature and meaning of ‘political theatre’. The book also presents an account of Utpal Dutt’s association with the Indian People’s Theatre Association and the Little Theatre Group, his Marxist leanings and his determination to make a mark in ‘active politics’ through his entire body of creative output.
“If we overlook the great tragedies written long before the bourgeoisie were even born and insist that tragedy draws its strength from bourgeois virtues we would be ignoring history. Shakespeare, for example, consistently lashed out at the avarice and the new codes of deceit and betrayal of the bourgeoisie; from Oliver to lago, it is the same bourgeois virtue of putting money in the purse that stands accused. Brecht forgets that Shakespeare was watching from close quarters the collapse of the old order and the rise of the new ruthless one, which judged a man by what he has and not by what he is. Therefore, to predict so cavalierly the death of tragedy along with that of the bourgeois is to talk like the drug-addicted lumpen theatre of present-day America whose manifestos often open with the words: ‘Art is bourgeois, Art is shit.’ Goebbels said the same thing using a more re-strained language.” (page 10)Towards a Revolutionary Theatre