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Will Indian theatre find relevance beyond Ramlila?

Theatre

By Ishan Kukreti

Theater as an art form has been there since the early days of civilizations. From ancient Greek and Roman classical theatre to the postmodernist Theater of the Absurd, the stage has remained a constant for centuries-exploring, opining, criticizing.

‘We no longer have the strength to try and glimpse what lies beyond the walls we create to protect ourselves. And that’s exactly why theater should exist and where it should seek its strength. To peek inside where looking is forbidden.’ Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski said in this year’s World Theatre Day (WTD) International Message.

WTD is celebrated all over the world by the theatre communities on March 27 to commemorate the art. It was started by International Theatre Institute in 1961.

Indian theatre is one of the first in the world to emerge. It has its presence all across the country in some form or the other. Metros have a brimming culture of theatre and an enthusiastic audience. But, apart from the ten odd days of Ramlila, there is not a lot of theatre in the smaller towns and cities. The introduction of cinema halls into the picture has also resulted in divergence of theatre audience to films. Yet cinema can never match the interactive quality of theatre.

‘Theatre will always remain relevant as the things one can say through a play sometimes cannot be said through cinema. It is a process which is very evolved and the way theatre helps actors achieve catharsis along with the audience is something that is absolutely magical.’ said Shilpa Shukla, critically acclaimed Indian actress.

Theatre, apart from being a powerful tool of communication is also a very good activity for personality development. Although a lot of people joining theatre enter it with an intention of using it as a medium to get into films, theatre’s relevance goes beyond being a trampoline.

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