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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing From The Archive

Jana Sanskriti – Forum Theatre and Democracy in India

Book: Jana Sanskriti – Forum Theatre and Democracy in India
Written by: Sanjoy Ganguly, English
Consultant Editor: Ralph Yarrow
Published by: Routledge, 2010

Jana Sanskriti Centre for the Theatre of the Oppressed is situated in West Bengal and has been practising the theatre methods of Augusto Boal from 1985. It is one of the largest, and the longest-lasting, Forum Theatre operations in the world. ”‘Jana Sanskriti – Forum Theatre and Democracy in India” by Sanjoy Ganguly (the founder and artistic director of the group) narrates the story of its growth and development from its inception in 1985 to 2009. Ganguly reflects and analyzes the experiences and implications of the theatre for society by weaving together narrative and example – of people and of plays, of places and contexts. He includes the nature of collective thinking and its place in democracy, the identification and fostering of the fundamental human ability to think rationally and act autonomously by all members of society, and emphasises the importance of a theatre aesthetic which can present complex issues and offer space for understanding and decision-making as key points of analysis and discussion. The book provides insights into Ganguly’s vision of theatre which is both politics and ethics.

“Theatre is essentially the creation of human relationships in the form of collective action. It is the process of theatre that transforms an individual into a spectator of his own actor. As a result, an individual is confronted by a conflict. Conflict between belief and disbelief, morality and ethics, tradition and modernity, right and wrong. Some people avoid this conflict, keeping it unresolved, and suffer from the fear of complexity; and some have the courage to deal with the conflict. This dealing is truly a movement directed towards truth. It means questioning your own actions – what you do and why you do it, and what you might do instead.”(pg 110)