Playwright at the Centre: Marathi Drama from 1843 to the Present
The Marathi theatre has been vigorously alive now for over one hundred and fifty years in a continuously vital way. It is one of the most active and prominent regional theatre traditions in this country. This pathbreaking study takes a close look at two streams of secular, urban theatre the touring professional theatre centred in Mumbai whose audience was largely the educated middle class of Maharashtra s small town and cities; and the other or parallel theatre which came into being in the early fifties with Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur as its centers in rejection of the mainstream theatre which had become irrelevant to the post-Independence generation of college-educated youth.This is the first such history of Marathi drama to be attempted in English. Positing the centrality of the playwright to Marathi theatre, this volume takes a close look at milestones and breakthroughs, at significant plays and the trends they spawned. Particularly valuable are the extensive extracts allowing the reader a rare glimpse of scripts which are otherwise impossible to access.The introduction is a rapid journey through one hundred years of theatre from 1843 to 1943, with halts along the way to look more closely at a play, a breakthrough, or a sign of audience taste that might have had a bearing on the direction in which theatre moved.Section One picks out for close examination the important works of the most significant playwrights of the golden age of contemporary Marathi theatre during which the parallel theatre movement was born, burgeoned and went to seed, and the mainstream theatre grew to full maturity. Section Two comprises an overview of theatre activity from 1985 to the present day including verbatim interviews with contemporary playwrights.Additional material includes a section of long extracts from contemporary plays otherwise unavailable in print, interviews with directors who are closely involved with the playwrights of today and a section of rare archival photographs.Shanta Gokhale is a leading theatre critic and writer, and this book is based on years of research and an intimate knowledge of the theatre world she writes about.
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