Theatre is an art form that showcases freedom of speech and expression. It is made to suit the entertainment needs of the young and old alike through its content, narration and style. Themes for a theatre performance in India are usually borrowed from the epics such as Ramayana and Mahabaratha.
What is the status of theatre in urban India today? The scene is not so encouraging. As of now, theatre is seen as an alternative form of entertainment enjoyed largely by theatre aficionados. And, mostly contemporary theatre it is. Although traditional theatre forms such as yakshagana, dollu kunitha, bailata and so on originated here, they are on the brink of extinction while they are gaining popularity in the West. Movies, cable television, computer games and gizmos are seen to satisfy the penchant for entertainment.
The need of the hour is to keep theatre and its forms alive in India. One of the best ways to introduce theatre to the younger generation is by including it in the school curriculum – be in the private schools or the government schools. Exclusive time needs to be devoted to nurture theatre talents among individuals. Students who are not keen on pursuing academics may wish to pursue acting as a career and take up some training. Young minds when nourished with appropriate training and exposed to such theatre forms will help in upholding theatre – a dominant facet of Indian culture. Amateur theatre clubs should be given the required support. The government on its part should continue to acknowledge theatre artists by way of instituting various awards and offering promotional platforms. Any financial assistance will be greatly appreciated as well.
Theatre, after all, brings out myriad facets of human personality to the fore and it draws attention to certain subtle aspects of life. Qualities such as humour, wit, revolt, anger, sorrow, fear, surprise and so on are depicted in an artistic manner. Relationships are given new dimensions and life is looked upon through different lenses. Those colourful clothes and props, dialogues and stories – all are woven together to give a performance that magical aura and effect. In fact, theatre brings out the best in individuals. It acts a stressbuster to both the actors and the audiences. Thus, the show must go on.
PS: Yours truly had written this piece for a recent edition of a college journal – The Write Angle. Your comments/views are welcome.