Friday, November 21, 2008

Marat/ Sade by peter Weiss, directed by Peter Brook



(The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of Monsieur de Sade)

Great Britain, 1966

Director: Peter Brook

Production: United Artists; De Luxe Color; running time: 115 minutes. Released in USA February 1967.

Producer: Lord Michael Birkett with the Royal Shakespeare Company; screenplay: Adrian Mitchell; English translation by Geoffrey Skelton; based on a play by Peter Weiss; assistant director: Anthony Way; photography: David Watkin; editor: Tom Priestly; sound: Robert Allen; art director: Ted Marshall; music: Richard Peaslee; choreographer: Malcolm Goddard.

Cast: Patrick Magee (Marquis de Sade); Ian Richardson (Jean-Paul Marat); Glenda Jackson (Charlotte Corday); Clifford Rose (Coulmier); Brenda Kempner (Mme Coulmier); Ruth Baker (Mlle. Coulmier); Freddie Jones (Cucurucu); Robert Lloyd (Jacques Roux); Leon Lissek (Lavoisier); John Harwood (Lavoisier); Jack Steiner (Dupperet); Michael Williams (Herald); Hugh Sullivan (Kokol); Jonathan Burn (Polpach); Jeanette Landis (Rossignol); Susan Williamson (Simone Evrard); Mark Jones (Abbott); and others.

Awards: Silver Ribbon for Best Director of a Foreign Film, Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, 1966; Special Mention (Brook), Locarno International Film Festival, 1967.

Publications

Articles:

Brook, Peter, et. al., "Marat/Sade Forum," in Tulane Drama Review, vol. 10, no. 4, Summer 1966.

New York Times, 23 February 1967.

White, John J., "History and Cruelty in Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade," in Modern Language Review, vol. 63, 1968.

Roberts, David, "Marat/Sade, or the Birth of Postmodernism from the Spirit of the Avant-Garde," in Postmodern Conditions, edited by Milner, Thompson, and Worth, New York, 1990.

Holderness, Graham, "Weiss/Brook: Marat/Sade," in Twentieth Century European Drama, edited by Brian Docherty, New York, 1994.

* * *

In 1966, world-famous stage director Peter Brook adapted the visionary play by Peter Weiss, a German dramatist who lived in Sweden until his death in 1982. The full title of the film is The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. The complexity of the title is matched by the complicated relationship to history and politics it offers. The didactic full title of the play heralds a complex political drama rarely seen on film. This film does not aim at persuasiveness or at presenting an objective analysis of a distinct historical event. Instead, it offers a complicated unfolding of a play within a play about drama and history that simultaneously challenges the spectator to rethink political philosophy and the nature of human nature.

Brook's filmed version of Weiss's play opens in the bathhouse of the insane asylum at Charenton, France, in the year 1808. The asylum's most notorious inmate, Marquis de Sade (Patrick Magee), has been commissioned to write and direct a play for the inmates to perform "as therapy," for Parisian high society. Sade stages a play about the assassination of the French revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat at the height of the Terror in 1793. The play itself represents four historical levels: the failed revolution in 1793, the asylum where the play was staged in 1808, the filming in 1966, and the spectator's current viewing.

The play is based on two historical truths: that the Marquis de Sade was interned in the asylum in the Paris suburb of Charenton for 13 years (from 1801 until his death in 1814); and that Marat was fatally stabbed in a bathtub by Charlotte Corday at the height of terror in the French Revolution in 1793. The sparse facts form the basis of an imagined performance by members of asylum. The play is performed by inmates of the asylum and overseen, monitored, and intermittently interrupted by the asylum's staff. The patients' white costumes and the white face worn by some of the cast provide a drab background for the opulent aristocratic audience, who have come to the asylum to watch the show. Thematically, this film is about history itself, the events of the French revolution, class conflict, and the conditions of an early nineteenth century asylum, where plays were part of the therapeutic process. But the play-within-a-play is not just a historical drama. Rather, it is clearly concerned with the problem of revolution.

Marat and Sade debate the philosophical and political impact of the French Revolution while surrounded by inmates of the asylum. Their debate circulates around certain compelling and difficult questions: are the things that are true for the masses also true for their leaders? Where, in modern times, lies the borderline of sanity? Marat advocates the need for revolution. Sade (who historically did write while an inmate of the asylum) views the world solely in individualistic terms and voices extreme pessimism about the outcome of revolution.

For Marat, the problems of existence have social and political solutions and revolution holds the potential for transformation. Sade, on the other hand, champions the depravity and perversity inherent in human nature. In addition to these two poles of belief, a chorus of other voices are present: The asylum director is present, with his wife and daughter, to interrupt the action when the revolutionary rhetoric goes too far and the historical revision not far enough. The priest strives to uphold the rules of the church, and the audience is bent on entertainment. The herald provides an ongoing ironic commentary on events, while Charlotte Corday, the narcoleptic heroine and assassin, speaks contemptuously of the slaughter in Paris, with phrases like, "They talk of people now as gardeners talk of leaves for burning."

The collision of existentialism with political fanaticism amid chaos provides no easy answers. Whether a parable of modern society (life is a madhouse in which we are all prisoners) or a deliberate technique designed to shock and push action and dialogue to excess, this film is not a patronizing, overwrought debate; on the contrary, it provides an intellectual, chronological, and visual challenge. In the 34 years since its premiere, the simply staged, one-room film remains unprecedented in its combination of classic Brechtian and Artaudian theory as well as Marxist political critique and experimental vision. The members of the Royal Shakespeare Company provide a compellingly disturbed rendition of the claustrophobic atmosphere of a Parisian insane asylum in the early nineteenth century.

The unusual, minimalist cinematography of Watkins creates a harsh, at times surreal, effect. His skillful camera work varies extreme, lingering close-ups with erratic camera movement to heighten the unpredictability and exacerbate the feeling of uncontrolled violence building beneath the surface. The camera work implicates the spectator in the play's unfolding, revealing that there is no safe place from which to watch the film at a distance. The use of a hand-held camera, especially, makes us feel that we too are inmates involved in the activity of the asylum.

In a similarly innovative manner, the spectator is not given a linear narrative, except in the synopsis of the entire film provided at the beginning of the play by a herald. Thus, one is forced to participate actively in the making of the meaning and message of the play (and the film). According to Graham Holderness, "the play present[s] political violence and human extremity through a philosophical violence and a self-reflexive theatrical medium." The film raises such questions as, who benefits from the revolution? Do the ends justify the means? Charenton, "an intense characterization of the wretched of the earth" writes Holderness, was a place for the socially unacceptable (whether clinically insane or not). This institution was, acording to Weiss, a "hiding place for the moral rejects of civilized society" and was designed to maintain discipline, order, and social control for 'civilized' societies.

Brook's adaptation of the play reveals strong overtones of Antonin Artaud's 'Theater of Cruelty,' which touted a new dramatic language, liberated from the narrative continuity and the conventions of realist theater. The events of the play and its the setting in an asylum jar the senses of both the audience and the performers, agitating viewers at a sensory level and thus involving them emotionally as well as intellectually. One witnesses the use of Brechtian estrangement as asylum inmates constantly forget their lines, fall out of their roles, and have to be prompted. Moreover, the film is divided into episodes, all of which are continuously interrupted by formal debate, political songs, direct audience address, mime, and pageant. The characters break into song, speak in rhyme, have mental attacks (narcolepsy, seizures, itching attacks, and so forth.) This constant interruption and mixing of the different historical levels serves as a reminder of the blurry line between life and representation.

The film concludes with Marat's rising from his death to pronounce final words of faith in revolutionary collectivism: "Others now will carry on/the fight that I Marat begun/until one day the hour shall strike/when men will share and share alike." Sade rejoins with pour individualism "So for me the last word can never be spoken/I am left with a question that is always open." The entirely imagined encounter between Marat and Sade reflects the Marxist belief in history as a conflict between two contradictory forces, represented by the beliefs of Marat and Sade. On one level a historical drama about France in the aftermath of the 1789 revolution, and a philosophical debate between the collective and the individual, Brook's film also pushes the limits, testing whether a film should take up a political stance or maintain a dignified detachment in the interests of objectivity.

—Jill Gillespie
[reference- http://www.filmreference.com/Films-Ma-Me/Marat-Sade.html/]

visual culture and performance art in Jawaharlal Nehru University

of late , but since long I've been conceiving this sort of a engagement where we could stress and bring in lime light the rich visual culture in Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus, and the intrinsic element of Performance art lingering with the former.this post is one of the several blogs that i want to post on JNU,visual( Political & Aesthetic) Culture.
recently these painting were etched on the wall of a Dhaba(Eating Joint) in campus protesting against the administration unlawful treatment of the Labourers.



the poster talk about invisible labour by depicting these black masked people. and the shadows of the labours on the wall of the Dhaba.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Regrets for misposting photographs of Vikramorvashiyam!

The Editorial Board sincerely regrets the inadvertent digital error in mis-posting the photographs of Vikramorvashiyam in the blog http//rangamancha.blogspot.com/ posting- "Vikramorvashiyam (Urvashi won by valour) performed by NSD" dated 15.11.2008. It further appeals to all concerned authorities to consider the case and be kind enough to ignore the mistake, providing oneself a chance to improve, upon the benefit of doubt.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vikramorvashiyam (Urvashi Won by Valour) performed by NSD

National School of Drama
second year Students
present
Kalidasa's Vikramorvashiyam
Music- Govind Pandey
Choreography- Anjana Rajan
Direction K S Rajendran.
Staged in NSD from 11- 15 November, 2008

i am privileged to present you with a very personal and analytical response of the latest performance that provide you with a glimpse of the ancient, classical into the modern..or rather post..., i think this should be the idiom of reinterpreting the classical into our times and making it accessible to us, speaking to us in our own language but never losing essence of the language(language in every sense of the term) of the original/source/(here classical) tradition!

it has been not quite a long association with Rajendran sir...
i personally worked with him in Hamare Samay Mein, last year when Rajendran sir directed the play for Bahroop. However. that short span of time, during the production of Hamare Samay Mein,a bond developed amongst whole crew.
of course....sir himself use to comment theatre is all about bonding relying on each other completely. the production helped us to understand the meaning of the above quoted lines.I personally, was introduced to "the play" as a category and then began to learn, how to translate it into the language of theatre/ performance.
sir, is always a constant source of learning and fills you with an energy,which is very different in itself.
Last year we watched the much acclaimed production 'Mrichhkatikkam' by Sir. This year Vikramorvashiyam is yet another jewel carved out of a raw diamond with exquisite dexterity and understanding.
this play is a worth watch!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Noh theatre and Kyogen straight from japan







Noh (能 Nō?), or Nōgaku (能楽?) is a major form of classic Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Together with the closely-related kyōgen farce, it evolved from various popular, folk and aristocratic art forms, including Dengaku, Shirabyoshi, and Gagaku. Although Noh has been slow and stylised for several centuries, its roots can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty's Nuo, (傩, 戏), Sarugaku (derived from "Wu musical" traditions in various Chinese dynasties), and folk theatricals.
Kan'ami and his son Zeami brought Noh to its present-day form during the Muromachi period under the patronage of the powerful Ashikaga clan. It would later influence other dramatic forms such as Kabuki and Butoh. During the Meiji era, although its governmental patronage was lost, Noh and Kyōgen received official recognition as two of the three national forms of drama.
By tradition, Noh actors and musicians never rehearse for performances together. Instead, each actor, musician, and choral chanter practices his or her fundamental movements, songs, and dances independently or under the tutelage of a senior member of the school. Thus, the tempo of a given performance is not set by any single performer but established by the interactions of all the performers together. In this way, Noh exemplifies the traditional Japanese aesthetic of transience, called by Sen no Rikyu "ichi-go ichi-e".

Noh stage. Center: shite; front right: waki; right: eight-member jiutai (chorus); rear center: four hayashi-kata (musicians); rear left: two kohken (stage hands).
There are four major categories of Noh performers: shite, waki, kyōgen, and hayashi.
The shite (仕手, シテ), literally "doers" are the most common roles in Noh
Shite (primary actor). In plays where the shite appears first as a human and then as a ghost, the first role is known as the maeshite and the later as the nochishite
Shitezure (仕手連れ, シテヅレ) The shite's companion. (Sometimes abbreviated to "tsure" (連れ, ツレ), although this term refers to both the shitezure and the wakizure. (See below.))
The waki (脇, ワキ) performs the role that is the counterpart or foil of the shite
The wakizure (脇連れ, ワキヅレ) is the companion of the waki
The kyōgen (狂言) perform the aikyogen(相狂言) interludes during plays. Kyōgen actors also perform in separate plays between individual noh plays
The hayashi (囃子) or hayashi-kata (囃子方) are the instrumentalists who play the four instruments used in Noh theater: the transverse flute (fue 能管), hip drum (okawa or ōtsuzumi 大鼓), the shoulder-drum (kotsuzumi 小鼓), and the stick-drum (taiko 太鼓).
The jiutai (地謡) is the chorus, usually comprising six to eight people
Kōken (後見) are stage hands, usually one to three people
A typical Noh play will involve four or five categories of actors and usually takes 30-120 minutes. Noh actors were almost exclusively male.

Plays

There are approximately 250 plays in the current repertoire, which can be divided according to a variety of schemes. The most common is according to content, but there are several other methods of organization.
[edit]Categories
Kami mono (神物) or waki nō (脇能) typically feature the shite in the role of a human in the first act and a deity in the second and tell the mythic story of a shrine or praise a particular spirit.
Shura mono (修羅物) or ashura nō (阿修羅能, warrior plays) have the shite often appearing as a ghost in the first act and a warrior in full battle regalia in the second, re-enacting the scene of his death.
Katsura mono (鬘物, wig plays) or onna mono (女物, woman plays) depict the shite in a female role and feature some of the most refined songs and dances in all of Noh.
There are about 94 "miscellaneous" plays, including kyōran mono (狂乱物) or madness plays, onryō mono (怨霊物) or vengeful ghost plays, and genzai mono (現在物), plays which depict the present time, and which do not fit into the other categories.
Kiri nō (切り能, final plays) or oni mono (鬼物, demon plays) usually feature the shite in the role of monsters, goblins, or demons, and are often selected for their bright colors and fast-paced, tense finale movements.

Mood
Mugen nō (夢幻能) usually deals with spirits, ghosts, phantasms, and supernatural worlds. Time is often depicted as passing in a non-linear fashion, and action may switch between two or more timeframes from moment to moment.
Genzai nō (現在能), as mentioned above, depicts normal events of the everyday world. However, when contrasted with mugen instead of with the other four categories, the term encompasses a somewhat broader range of plays.

Style
Geki nō (劇能) or drama plays are based around the advancement of plot and the narration of action.
Furyū nō (風流能) or dance plays focus rather on the aesthetic qualities of the dances and songs which are performed.
Okina (or Kamiuta) is a unique play which combines dance with Shinto ritual. It is considered the oldest type of Noh play, and is probably the most often performed. It will generally be the opening work at any programme or festival.

Sources
The Tale of the Heike, a medieval tale of the rise and fall of the Taira clan, originally sung by blind monks who accompanied themselves on the biwa, is an important source of material for Noh (and later dramatic forms), particularly warrior plays. Another major source is The Tale of Genji, an eleventh century work of profound importance to the later development of Japanese culture. Authors also drew on Nara and Heian period Japanese classics, and Chinese sources.

Some famous plays

The following categorization is that of the Kanze school.
Name Kanji Meaning Category
Aoi no Ue 葵上 Lady Aoi 4 (misc.)
Aya no Tsuzumi 綾鼓 The Damask Drum 4 (misc.)
Dōjōji 道成寺 Dōjōji 4 (misc.)
Hagoromo 羽衣 The Feather Mantle 3 (woman)
Izutsu 井筒 The Well Cradle 3 (woman)
Kagekiyo 景清 Kagekiyo 4 (misc.)
Kanawa 鉄輪 The Iron Ring/Crown 4 (misc.)
Kumasaka 熊坂 Kumasaka/The Robber 5 (demon)
Matsukaze 松風 The Wind in the Pines 3 (woman)
Nonomiya 野宮 The Shrine in the Fields 3 (woman)
Sekidera Komachi 関寺小町 Komachi at Sekidera 3 (woman)
Semimaru 蝉丸 Semimaru 4 (misc.)
Shakkyō 石橋 Stone Bridge 5 (demon)
Shōjō 猩々 The Tippling Elf 5 (demon)
Sotoba Komachi 卒都婆小町 Komachi at the Gravepost 3 (woman)
Takasago 高砂 At Takasago 1 (deity)
Tsunemasa 経政 Tsunemasa 2 (warrior)
Yorimasa 頼政 Yorimasa 2 (warrior)
Yuya 熊野 Yuya 3 (woman)

Performance elements

Noh performance combines a variety of elements into a stylistic whole, with each particular element the product of generations of refinement according to the central Buddhist, Shinto, and minimalist aspects of Noh's aesthetic principles.
Stage
The traditional Noh stage consists of a pavilion whose architectural style is derived from that of the traditional kagura stage of Shinto shrines, and is normally composed almost entirely of hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood. The four pillars are named for their orientation to the prominent actions during the course of the play: the waki-bashira in the front, right corner near the waki's standing point and sitting point; the shite-bashira in the rear, left corner, next to which the shite normally performs; the fue-bashira in the rear, right corner, closest to the flute player; and the metsuke-bashira, or "looking-pillar", so called because the shite is typically faced toward the vicinity of the pillar.
The floor is polished to enable the actors to move in a gliding fashion, and beneath this floor are buried giant pots or bowl-shaped concrete structures to enhance the resonant properties of the wood floors when the actors stomp heavily on the floor. As a result, the stage is elevated approximately three feet above the ground level of the audience.
The only ornamentation on the stage is the kagami-ita, a painting of a pine-tree at the back of the stage. The two most common beliefs are that it represents either a famous pine tree of significance in Shinto at the Kasuga Shrine in Nara, or that it is a token of Noh's artistic predecessors which were often performed to a natural backdrop.
Another unique feature of the stage is the hashigakari, the narrow bridge to the right of the stage that the principal actors use to enter the stage. This would later evolve into the hanamichi in kabuki.
All stages which are solely dedicated to Noh performances also have a hook or loop in ceiling, which exists only to lift and drop the bell for the play Dōjōji. When that play is being performed in another location, the loop or hook will be added as a temporary fixture.

Costumes
The garb worn by actors is typically adorned quite richly and steeped in symbolic meaning for the type of role (e.g. thunder gods will have hexagons on their clothes while serpents have triangles to convey scales). Costumes for the shite in particular are extravagant, shimmering silk brocades, but are progressively less sumptuous for the tsure, the wakizure, and the aikyōgen.
The musicians and chorus typically wear formal montsuki kimono (black and adorned with five family crests) accompanied by either hakama (a skirt-like garment) or kami-shimo, a combination of hakama and a waist-coat with exaggerated shoulders (see illustrations). Finally, the stage attendants are garbed in virtually unadorned black garments, much in the same way as stagehands in contemporary Western theater.

Masks
The masks in Noh (能面 nō-men or 面 omote, feature) all have names.
Usually only the shite, the main actor, wears a mask. However, in some cases, the tsure may also wear a mask, particularly for female roles. The Noh masks portray female or nonhuman (divine, demonic, or animal) characters. There are also Noh masks to represent youngsters or old men. On the other hand, a Noh actor who wears no mask plays a role of an adult man in his twenties, thirties, or forties. The side player, the waki, wears no mask either.
Several types of masks, in particular those for female roles, are designed so that slight adjustments in the position of the head can express a number emotions such as fear or sadness due to the variance in lighting and the angle shown towards the audience. With some of the more extravagant masks for deities and monsters, however, it is not always possible to convey emotion. Usually, however, these characters are not frequently called to change emotional expression during the course of the scene, or show emotion through larger body language.
The rarest and most valuable Noh masks are not held in museums even in Japan, but rather in the private collections of the various "heads" of Noh schools; these treasures are usually only shown to a select few and only taken out for performance on the rarest occasions. This does no substantial harm to the study and appreciation of Noh masks, as tradition has established a few hundred standard mask designs, which can further be categorized as being one of about a dozen different types.

Props
The most commonly used prop in Noh is the fan, as it is carried by all performers regardless of role. Chorus singers and musicians may carry their fan in hand when entering the stage, or carry it tucked into the obi. In either case, the fan is usually placed at the performer's side when he or she takes position, and is often not taken up again until leaving the stage.
Several plays have characters who wield mallets, swords, and other implements. Nevertheless, during dance sequences, the fan is typically used to represent any and all hand-held props, including one such as a sword which the actor may have tucked in his sash or ready at hand nearby.
When hand props other than fans are used, they are usually introduced or retrieved by stage attendants who fulfill a similar role to stage crew in contemporary theater. Like their Western counterparts, stage attendants for Noh traditionally dress in black, but unlike in Western theater they may appear on stage during a scene, or may remain on stage during an entire performance, in both cases in plain view of the audience.
Stage properties in Noh including the boats, wells, altars, and the aforementioned bell from Dōjōji, are typically carried onto the stage before the beginning of the act in which they are needed. These props normally are only outlines to suggest actual objects, although the great bell, a perennial exception to most Noh rules for props, is designed to conceal the actor and to allow a costume change during the aikyogen interlude.

Chant and Music (Nohgaku 能楽)

Hayashi-kata (noh musicians). Left to right: taiko, ōtsuzumi (hip drum), kotsuzumi (shoulder drum), flute.
Noh theatre is accompanied by a chorus and a hayashi ensemble (Noh-bayashi 能囃子). Noh is a chanted drama, and a few commentators have dubbed it "Japanese opera." However, the singing in Noh involves a limited tonal range, with lengthy, repetitive passages in a narrow dynamic range. Clearly, melody is not at the center of Noh singing. Still, texts are poetic, relying heavily on the Japanese seven-five rhythm common to nearly all forms of Japanese poetry, with an economy of expression, and an abundance of allusion.
It is important to note that the chant is not always performed "in character"; that is, sometimes the actor will speak lines or describe events from the perspective of another character or even a disinterested narrator. Far from breaking the rhythm of the performance, this is actually in keeping with the other-worldy feel of many Noh plays, especially those characterized as mugen.
Noh hayashi ensemble consists of four musicians, also known as the "hayashi-kata". There are three drummers, which play the shime-daiko, ōtsuzumi (hip drum), and kotsuzumi (shoulder drum) respectively, and a shinobue flautist.

Jo, Ha, Kyū
Main article: Jo-ha-kyū
One of the most subtle performance elements of Noh is that of Jo-ha-kyū, which originated as the three movements of courtly gagaku. However, rather than simply dividing a whole into three parts, within Noh the concept incorporates not only the play itself, but the songs and dances within the play, and even the individual steps, motions, and sounds that actors and musicians make. Furthermore, from a higher perspective, the entire traditional Noh program of five plays also manifests this concept, with the first type play being the jo, the second, third, and fourth plays the ha (with the second play being referred to as the jo of the ha, the third as the ha of the ha, and the fourth as the kyū of the ha), and finally the fifth play the kyū. In general, the jo component is slow and evocative, and ha component or components detail transgression or the disordering of the natural way and the natural world, and the kyū resolves the element with haste or suddenness (note, however, that this only means kyū is fast in comparison with what came before it, and those unfamiliar with the concepts of Noh may not even realize the acceleration occurred).

Actors

There are about 1500 professional Noh actors in Japan today, and the art form continues to thrive. Actors begin their training as young children, traditionally at the age of three.
The five extant schools of Noh shite acting are the Kanze (観世), Hōshō (宝生), Komparu (金春), Kita (喜多), and Kongō (金剛) schools. Each school has a leading family known as the sōke, and the head of each family is entitled to create new plays or edit existing songs.
The society of Noh strictly protects the traditions passed down from their ancestors (see iemoto). However, several secret documents of the Kanze school written by Zeami, and of the Komparu school written by Komparu Zenchiku have been diffused throughout the community of scholars of Japanese theater.
Actors normally follow a strict progression through the course of their lives from roles considered the most basic to those considered the most complex or difficult; the role of Yoshitsune in Funa Benkei is one of the most prominent roles a child actor performs in Noh.
( Courtesy- Wikipedia and Personal inputs)
for more information
please copy the following address on the address bar and press Enter,
http://www2.ntj.jac.go.jp/unesco/noh/en/

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Alternative Living Theatre

A.L.T.

In 1977,Probir Guha established the Living Theatre (at present Alternative Living Theatre)in Khardaha, Gathering around him a group of Kolkata, gathering around him a group disenchanted and unemployed local youth from improverised lower middl-class families. He chose Khardaha as the location for the ALTERNATIVE LIVING THEATRE, so that he can save ALT from the so called urban drama and threats to its integrity posed by the commercialism and economic pressures of the city. And he recruited actors form among the under privileged class to create a theatre shaped by their own struggles and sufferng.The Alternative Living Theatre struggles and suffering almost exclusively in the small towns and villages of West Bengal and neighbouring states and abroad. It his initiative that consistently attacked communalism, social obscurantism, oppressive social conventions, superstition and political apathy, while attempting to build new ideals and sow the seeds of change in human minds.

The Alternative Liveng Theatre rejects the "problEm Theatre" of Urban intellectuals in favour of a theatre of living feelings. Which focuses less on the issues them on the experience of hunger,unemployment and social ineqality, and which portrays the pain, humiliation, disillusionment and alienation of the downtrodden.

Drama which intillectellectualizes oppression and exploitation markes that reality 'safe' for the audiecce instead of compelling them to confront it. The Alternative Living Theatre also rejects atternatives theatre movement which lay claim to grelevance becouse they dramatiz socil realities in the streets. It is not enough to show the death of a man no stage,and earn applause;
it is necessary to makevisibal the pain of dying, to disturb and chanllenge the audience to confront the image of there reality. Thereforwe choose subject (Mind it,subject not text)which lay scattedly allover our daily life. We often ignore them as daily hazards or a rare problems to look at.Often we are innorant of the fact that these little problam would comeup with a figure in recent future. These little confusion and social blindness are the major part of our subject. One of our actor summed up the A.L.T.'s philosophy thus " I want to to relieve what i experience every day. Theatre is true, as real as hunger. It's happening all the time. My purpose is to make ithappen all the time. My purpose is to make it happen all over again".
Now when there is such a different subject to workout how can the object be the same. Therefore we have discarded the same monotonus grammatical acting and have experiment and evolved a new aesthetic of theatre where physicality is our means of communiction. We have taken the main ingredients communication. We have taken the main ingredients form our own cultual andmartial arts from all over india and abroad. Such as, Chow, Thang-ta, Karasama, Kalari-payet, Kabuinaga, Odisi, Topeng, Leong, Kathakali, Bhartnattyam &many more.

The Alternativ Living Theatre believs in the overpowering impact of direct and innocent communication and we have therefore rejected conventional notions of dramatic form. Our productions rarely follow alinear mode of narration. Violent in momentum and impassioned in utterance, our dramatic composition are almost like choreographed variations on a central theme, emerging as extended metaphors in choral speech,ensembling movement, dance and song. Undermining therole of the playwright by eschewing exposition, polt, climax and denouncement, we create our own dramatic material on a collective basis. The actor improvice scene and movements based on an analysis of their of their own and outher responses to an emotive subject or event.We belive that Drama must belong to everybody.
The group has its own big training centre in a calm and quite environment. About 20people could be accommodated for alternative living theatre workshops at its own centreand abrorad A.L.T. is just not a theatre groupinstead, its a movement, unity, power and altogether a family where we love, scream, enjoy and happily share theatre among ourselvs.



WHAT IS A.L.T. ?

ALT BELIEVES IN CONSTANT EXPERIMENTATION.

ALT HAVE BEEN CONTUNIOUSLY EXPERIMENTING WITH THE WORD "FORM". IT HAVE BEEN YEARS THAT ALT HAVE DENOUNCED THE CONVENTIONAL FORMS AND HAVE BEEN EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW METHODS. TO GIVE THEATRE A NEW OUTLOOK AND A NEW THEORY, THAT IT IS NOT JUST ENTERTAINMENT, BUT THE REVEALETION OF EACH AND EVERY MOMENTS EXPERIENCE AND FEELINGS.ALT HAVE TRIED OUT A WHOLE LOT OF VARIOUS WAYS TO EXPLORE THEMSELVES. IT'S BEEN, SINCE FROM THE BIRTH, THAT ALT HAVE TRIED TO GO BEYOND THE LIMITS. ALT BELIEVES, THAT THERE IS NO SINGULAR RULE FOR THEATRE, AND OUR OWN THEATRE WOULD BE LIKE OURSELF.

MAY BE IT'S A PROUD DECISION, BUT THATS WHAT IS ALT.

ALT HAVE GONE THROUGH MANY FACES OF THEATRE, DO U WANT TO KNOW THEM? O.K. WE GO ON A SHORT DETAILS.........................


1.PHYSICAL LANGUAGE: language is region specific. then what is the language that is known by everyone of us? Because oppresion have no singular language, so does'nt have poverty.Therefore some language must be found out to express our own feeling. physicality have exposed us to such a world where language is just not a language.it's not through acting but expressing, that we perform.

2.INSTRUMENTAL LANGUAGE: music have got to say something. can it cry? can it laugh? can it express every moment of itself? yes! it does.alt have succesfully experimented with it. and many performences are just based on musicality and nothing else.



3.LANGUAGE OF PROPERTIES: alt believes that properties are just not for the sake of drama. or just for building ambience. but it's the extention of the body. and only comes into use when the body is sufficiently used.

4.INTIMATE SPACE THEATRE: it's since 1977, that alt have been performing in intimate spaces. for long 10 years. at the surendra kumar bidyalaya(khardaha).a lot many important pieces have been developed in those 10 years,and alt is still going on experimenying with it.

5.IMMEDIATE THEATRE: it's a very unique process, where the actors even doesn't knows what would become of a theme. it's just upon improvising. taking up a recent issue,a single actor starts developing and then the others gradually joins in. it's fun doing it.

6.ALLAP THEATRE: It's a medium through which the actors go on to a direct interraction with the spectators. just in the disguise of forum theatre, ALT have developed this form, where there is a lot of ingredidnts taken from our own cultural heritage.

7.INVISIBLE THEATRE: ALT is experimenting with this raw form of Augusto Boal, trying to make out something different.

8.THEATRE OF EXPERIENCE: it's a totally new process, that ALT is working on. it's very hard to describe it out. it's nothing but experiencing theatre, where the audience is the expressor and the actors are nothing , but who helps to express.

9.DIFFERENT WAYS OF STORY TELLING: ALT have always given importence to incidents or subjects,rather than characters. therefore the way of presenting a certain incident have always altered,with the importence and magnitude of the subject described.ALT have experimented a lot of wats of story telling, and no one of the each could be similared with the another. source and for more info log on to : http://altmovements.tripod.com/alternativelivingtheatre/id10.html

Monday, August 25, 2008

American Gypsy: 'Indian' review

A stage is suspended in the air. The earth hangs beneath it on cords. As long as the voices last, the cords will not break. But when the voices fail, the earth will fall into the chaos below.
From the Cherokee

These prophetic words almost setoff the tone and tempo of the collection, “American Gypsy: Six American Indian plays” by Diane Glancy, and almost on the same grounds quite summarize it. There is still the belief that story holds things together, and lives of people depend on it. “As far as drama is concerned, it seems to be a truism that in all cases the stage has proved to be a highly appropriate arena for representing or propagating norms and ideas crucial to the given society.”, 1says Erica Fischer-Lichte. Therefore, the mode of drama to depict the story, tradition, culture and heritage is not only appropriate, but also very exhilarating experience and this is true for every culture across the globe. However, Glancy speaks about this link between stage and life, in the context specific to her lineage and Native American imagination. In the preface to the play ‘Red Deer’, she writes, “I try. Well, I try. To combine the overlapping realities of myth, imagination, & memory with spaces for silences. To make a story. The voices speaking in different agencies. Well, I try to move on with the voices in its guises.” (Glancy, Diane, American Gypsy, 2002, p.4) So, an ethnic identity has its own nuances and its own history, and it is this Native American milieu that I seek to explore here – to locate Glancy and her plays in her context and to attempt to understand what is so very ‘Native American’ about Glancy’s Dramaturgy.

Before attempting an analysis of the plays and dramaturgy, one should understand the adjective under observation ‘Native American’. Patricia Riley points out in the ‘Introduction’ to ‘Growing Up Native American’
What does it mean to grow up Native American? There are as many answers to that question as there are Native American people. Certainly, there are as many stories. Stories of oppression and survival, of people who grew up surrounded by tradition, and people who did not. Stories of the pressures of forced assimilation and stories of resistance, of heritage denied and of heritage reclaimed. A multiplicity of stories.2

Therefore, in the old ways practiced by many tribes, an elderly person who is ‘so inclined and capable on occasion’ sits and tells stories. The stories are woven of elements that illuminate the ritual tradition of the storyteller’s people, using allegories make pertinent points to some listener who is about to make a mistake or who has some difficulty to resolve, and hold the listeners’ attention so that they can experience a sense of belonging to a tough, potent and impregnable tradition. This potency and impregnability of that tradition reflects the potency and impregnability of the people who are a part of such a tradition. Many women from as many tribes tell their stories with such force and lucidity that it manifests the reemergence of American Indians as a significant voice in the American community.

Glancy, is one of those woman storytellers, who manifested the reemergence of the ‘Significant Voice’ of the American Indian community. She does it through her essays, poems, stories and plays. American Gypsy is once again, an attempt on Glancy’s part to provide ‘voices’ to the ‘silences’ of Native Americans. In fact, the title of the collection, American Gypsy, resonates on several levels with the history of Native Americans and specifically the Cherokees. First, the descriptor alludes to Native Americans as people who have migrated, much as the nomadic people known as gypsies migrated from the border region between Iran and India to Europe in the fourteenth of fifteenth century. However, Glancy refers to Native Americans who have a history of migrating within the borders of America, referring not only to the traditional migrations but also to the traditional migrations but also to the enforced migrations, such as the Trail of tears3 and removals to reservations. Second, American theatrical actors are known as “ gypsies” because they are on road, moving from one production to another, often living out of their suitcases, creating their own personal migrations.

In the play of the same title, Glancy offers her definition of American Gypsy: “An American Gypsy is a Native American who knows migration and rootlessness” (Glancy, American Gypsy, 2002 p.43). Thus, the characterization of Native Americans as “American Gypsy” portrays Native Actors as the original theatrical performers on this continent, tied to a political and geographical place, and involved in a communal expression of art. Erica Fisher-Lichte comments, “Theatre is a communal institution, representing and establishing relationships which fulfill social functions. The drama, the production, and the location of the performance all contribute to these functions. Of course, in general terms we recognize this communal condition of theatre. Theatre historians regularly acknowledge that theatre and society are closely related.”4 Therefore, theatre is one of the medium that can be of great help in replicating the essentially performative and lively oral aspect of their existence.

An epigraph, attributed as “from the Cherokee,” opens the collection of six plays and suggests one of the dominant themes-the importances of words: “A stage is suspended in the air. The earth hangs beneath it on cords. As long as the voices last, the cords will not break. But when the voices fail, the earth will fall on earth suggests that the survival and continuance of the Cherokees is the subject to the script of human interaction that stories, or in this case plays, provide. The voices or the lines that people speak, carry the breath of life that creates balance and harmony on the earth. Without the nuturing voices, life falls into disorder.

Grandfather,
A voice I am going to send
hear me
all over the universe
a voice I am going to send.
Hear me,
Grandfather,
I will live.
I have said.
--Red Bird, Lakota Sun Dance Prayer5
The concept of the Oral (Voices) literature, is very essential for the Native American existence. Oral literature maintains its continuity even though it exists only in forms that accept, absorb, and organically transform new influences. It preserves traditions while it assimilates outside influences. The many facets of oral literature come into focus when we remember that those who participate in performances experience the struggle between change-resistant and change-oriented social forces. For those who perceive traditional narratives as fossils, this notion of narrative performance is difficult, but participants in such events are aware that no two performances have precisely the same meaning. This arbitrariness of performance is stressed upon by Glancy. As Glancy writes in the preface, “[Script or written words] coalesces the array of arbitrary elements into patterns of images upon which the action rides” (Glancy, American Gypsy, p. xi). She poetically defines “script,” the dialogue, as the glue that holds together the setting for life’s action, another image of words as the sustenance needed for human relationships. Although the title of the collection lacks tribal specificity, the epigraph connotes the playwright’s Cherokee worldview, blending the beauty of oral literature and arbitrariness of the performance in her dramaturgy.

In The Woman Who Was a Red Deer Dressed for the Deer Dance, Glancy uses Ahw’uste, a Cherokee mythological spirit deer to illustrate the generational challenges to understanding between a grandmother and her granddaughter. Glancy composed this ‘dramatic/poetic piece’, ‘intermixing ...ethnographic material.’(3). She acknowledges that the story was taken from “Doi on Ahu’usti” and “Asudi on Ahw’sti,” Friends of Thunder, Tales of the Oklahoma Cherokees, edited by Frank and Anna Kilpatrick (University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), and contemporary materials ( the granddaughter’s life in the soup kitchen and dance bars). (3) 6Glancy wants to “combine the overlapping realities of myth, imagination, and memory with spaces for the silences” (4). The grandmother made a red-deer dress to draw closer to Ahw’uste, but the granddaughter has no time for the traditional spirits when she has no education or money and needs to find work. The grandmother says, “My deer dress is the way I felt, transformed by the power of ceremony,” and “We’re carriers of our stories and histories. We’re nothing without them.” (14) Grandmother holds a unique position in the Native American society. They are the epitomes of ancient wisdom and worldly knowledge. Paula Gunn Allen corroborates this in The Sacred Hoop:

…the Grandmother, recognized from the earliest times into the present among those peoples of the Americas who kept to the eldest traditions, is celebrated in social structures, architecture, law and custom, and oral tradition. To her we owe our lives, and from her comes our ability to endure, regardless of the concerted assaults on our, on her, being, for the past five hundred years of colonization. She is the Old Woman Spider who weaves us together in a fabric of interconnection. She is the Eldest god, the one who remembers and re-members; and though the history of the past five hundred years has taught us bitterness and helpless rage, we endure into the present, alive, certain of our significance, certain of her identity as the Sacred Hoop of Be-ing.7

Glancy is her quite autobiographical poem, ‘Looking for My Old Indian Grand Mother in the Summer Heat of 1980’, ruminates over the memory of her grandmother:

…Her hands and face turn before we arrive.
We are bleached clean from her responsibility.
It all happened before I was old enough to ask,
Before she knew I would even want to know.
It is because I am more like her than the others
I want to know what rock it is
she left upturned.8






The tone of the poem is reverberated in the end of the play, when the granddaughter glimpses an understanding of her grandmother’s world and says, “I’m sewing my own red-deer dress. It’s different than my grandma’s. mine is a dress of words.[…] I’ve learned she told me more without speaking than she did with her words”(18). Again, the silences are the gaps where the reader/audience must create meaning just as the granddaughter does, and one sees the continuance and survival of the granddaughter through the knowledge of myth and her ancestors.

The same as the granddaughter, three women in The Women Who Loved House Trailers also face the changes of unemployment. Oscar, a welder, Jelly, a weaver, and Berta, a collector of stories, are women who cannot pay the rent in their studio. The granddaughter of the previous play had relationship problem with men:
GRANDMOTHER
Better than your two human ones.
All you do is walk into trouble.
GIRL
Because I pick up someone now and then?
Didn’t you know what it was like to want love? (16)

Similar to the granddaughter, the three women also have relationship problems with men. Yet, these women are survivors who imagine how they might live in a trailer, traveling on the on the road:

JELLY
Let Berta tell a story that sounds like a house trailer on the road.
OSCAR
I could weld a bigger wren house. Put it on wheels. I name my “Roadside series” piece, “Pulling the Birdhouse.”
JELLY
I could put a wheel on my canoe.
I could hang the canoe with a wheel from the ceiling.
BERTA
Jelly could call her piece, “The Birchbark Wheelbarrow.”(40)

These lines once again, remind us of their gypsy like existence. The essence of migration is an indivisible part of their self and social history. This migration leads them to various experiences, which forms the base of the oral narratives and stories. By the end of the play, Berta concludes, “All we’ve got are stories. That’s where love comes from” (34). Echoing the importance of language that Glancy establishes in the epigraph, the women will continue because words will be the house trailer that carries their art, “the weight of [Oscar’s] anger, “Jelly’s woven canoes, and Berta’s stories (34).

Not only the language, but also the structure is composed to reflect essentially the Native American imagination. In the preface to the play Glancy writes, “The treaty of structure can be broken. It’s History’s lesson […] the Native play is a bird with several wings. It’s oral tradition told with more than one voice. Told with several voices where one could not go on without the other.” (19) We find this multiplicity of voices in the three women we find in House Trailers. Different people envisage the same idea of the house trailer very differently. Thus, the structure or the framework is altered, forming the expression of the many ‘voices’ as ideated in the opening Epigraph.

As a framework for the collection, the epigraph is balanced by a concluding
Essay, “Further (Farther): Creating Dialogue to Talk about Native American Plays,” in which Glancy offers another poetic discussion of the elements of Native American theater in a dramatic structure of three scenes. The essay does not offer any definitive guidelines for a literary theory for Native American plays but instead approaches the
traditional elements of drama in an imaginative, process-oriented, and open-ended manner. The idea of “creating dialogue” resembles a living organism infused with Native aesthetics. For example, Glancy articulates the idea of a play:

A play connects to a power source which is a structure of action. A cord into a socket. Dramatic language is like electricity. Which is hard to explain. It accesses invisibility and all those things going to it. A play is a small town. With an interstate bypassing it. Yet connected to the power plant by the river. A new oral tradition with breath that is the condition of performance. A planet of being. A location. A vectoring that is a conflation of crossroads in different perspectives. (200)

Glancy repeats the imagery of the epigraph, the stage’s cord connected to the earth, which is now the play’s electrical cord that holds all possibilities of being and meaning, energy connected to place, much like the universe’s umbilical cord that transmits a lifeline to the people. Glancy sees an all-pervading figure that is above all and controlling everything on earth with strings. She conceives of this figure as fundamentally a feminine figure-a motherly figure. This conception of motherly image, in nature and a all pervading force we find in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony:

The transition was completed. In the west and in the south too, the clouds with round heavy bellies had gathered for the drawn. It was not necessary, but it was right, even if the sky had been cloudless the end was the same. The ear for the story and the eye for the pattern were theirs; the feeling was theirs; we came out of this land and we are hers….They had never left him; she had always been there. He crossed the river at sunrise.9

Thus, the feminine and motherly figure is a dominant imagery in Native American literary tradition. Of course, another dominant imagery is of the Coyote that is well dealt with in The Lesser Wars. The play is about a male-female relationship, as the female character, Tecoyo says. The male in the play has gone through a divorce and lost everything. The female has also lost in a divorce and is facing another crisis (a hysterectomy). Their names are COYOTE and TECOYO (the name is a re-assemblage of COYOTE). Glancy asserts that the Coyote tradition underpins the drama. It is a Native American myth of the Trickster, the survivor, the one who always is, the one who is always underneath what we think we are. Coyote is the embodiment of everything, but especially of the contradictions within us. Illustrious Historian Ella E. Clark notes:

Coyote was the culture-hero and trickster for the Shoshone people….Wolf, his elder and benevolent brother, tried to make life pleasant and easy for people but Coyote thought that they should work hard for their living….Because of Coyote’s impudence toward Creator, death was brought into the World.10
Again, in creation myth told by the Lemhi Shoshone and recorded by Clark:

Coyote was the father of all the Indians and the special guardian of his tribe11

Of course in the essay, ‘Comanche and Coyote, The Culture Maker’, Galen Buller in his essay, “Comanche and Coyote, The Culture Maker”, quotes C. G. Jung as, “[Coyote]…is a forerunner of the savior, and, like him, God , man, and animal at once.” He further quotes that Jung goes on, in Man and His Symbols, to identify the four stages in the evolution of human identity as represented by the Winnebago trickster Cycles. They are: identity as biological man, identity as ordinary man on the street, identity as hero, and identity as spiritual man, conscious of both his inner and outer nature.12 It is essentially to say that a person who plays different walks into the daily life is the ideal coyote. Thus it is the sum total of ancient knowledge about the self and the society that forms an in divisible part of the existence. The knowledge on the playwright‘s part to know and understand her social stigma, give a new sense to her knowledge about the self. American Gypsy is composed out of that knowledge of the self. The play is about a Native American who knows migration and feels rootlessness. This rootlessness is not only on physical terms, but used as a metaphor to depict the whole life process. In the play, Glancy writes:
WILLIAM
Remember in church when the Holy Ghost fell? You and Ocholee Chicken-walked until Aunt Julia would call you down.
FRENNIE
That’s why we’re gypsies. That’s why we lost our land. So we won’t be stuck here. So we can be ready to leave this earth.

Here, the characters link up their existence as gypsies very metaphorical and comments on life and death very objectively and this is very Native American. Further more the play ends on the note of their realization of the power of language and also the multiplicity of voice. PERI says, “They bump into one another. They can’t see out the front of their heads. They can’t ask for help-their beaks don’t form words we understand- and when we speak they can’t hear because their ears are tucked…” This multiplicity of voice is much more explicit in Jump Kiss, where each plate shows us a new voice. The plates are reflective of the great multicultural America that has varied people of varied ethnicity and varied culture. Each ‘PLATE’ is altogether a new movement. Movement again, are symbolic of their Gypsy like rootless existence. Though all the experiences are varied, they fundamentally deal with a common theme- life. Finally, the life of imagination is put to death when she claims of killing ‘Grandmother Spider’ ‘instinctively’ without much thinking. (143)13. The ancient mythical ‘Grandma Spider’ is here physically manifested as the common spider (insect). But the imagery remains strong, showing us how with the advent of this new and modern civilization , the role of the Grandmother is getting feeble. The relationship between one generation and the next is breaking at a very fast pace. Thus, it is very important from Glancy’s position to try to reinstall those values back into the Native American, who are drifting away.

Once again, this Grandmother imagery is stressed upon in The Toad. The dramatic /poetic piece is a narration by a ‘Woman in her fifties’. The proposition is that of ancient Spiderwoman is spinning a tale and narrates it to us. In the process, she alludes to the civilization of China and thus making a story that has mythical proportions in it. In the narration she focuses on the Moon and in Moon she, envisages the essential feminine figure that we have talked about earlier. Further, we must not forget that essentially it is a play. In play, we do not have narrations in the main body, but monologue and soliloquies. The narrator begins:
There’s no writing on the Great Wall of China.
The Wall of China has no graffiti.
This is my writing on the Wall.
…………………………….
……………………………….
…………………………………..
In the Autumn Festival, the Chinese eat cakes shaped
like the moon.
The toad should have a bite. (194-199)14

Thus, this play essentially uses a prominent element of theatre-the art of monologue. This sheer presence of theatrical element does not necessarily make this drama performative; it is the script and its proper rendition that leads to a successful performance. As we have seen in all the plays mentioned above that, the scripts or the written words form a specific pattern. This pattern of words assemblage is something that is very crucial to their tradition of oral literature.
[Native American] Indian traditions place words organically in the world as animate, generative beings. Words are roots of continuing tribal origins, genetic cultural sources within nature. Indian literatures are then grounded in words that focus being within a setting.15 How ever, she admits that “Dramatic language [. . .] is hard to explain,” and that difficulty is perhaps why seeing these plays performed would bring them to life in ways that reading them can never equal. Definitely, the performative aspect of these plays cannot be overlooked, for their merit as beautiful script. A play is always meant to be performed, and here a play new a new structure will make the performance ‘novo’ and much more livelier. Of course, despite the much more obvious participation and contribution of “ reader” to the theatrical event than to the novel or poem, much theatre theory still regards the theatre performance as something created and set before a essentially passive audience. This is not always true. The audience concretizes the performance and its meaning that forms out of a dramatic text. Wolfgang Iser discusses this process of concretization as, “the process by which, according to Iser, a reader serves as coproducer of the meaning of a text by creatively filling gaps(leerstellen) left in that text by the author.16 Anne Ubersfield too, has described the dramatic textin particular as Troue, that is containing gaps, in this case to be filled by staging.17
An interesting parallel is suggested by this convergence of metaphor. The theatrical production itself is a kind of reading, very much in the sense described by Iser: “an act of defining the oscillating structure of the text through meanings, which as a rule are created in the process of reading itself.”18 This process of definition between dramatic text and audience, a central feature of theatre, makes the reading process here particularly complicated. The argument holds good for the American Gypsy too, containing such thematically and structurally innovated plays. Of course, Glancy is aware of the wide possibilities of her plays and she acknowledges the lessons she got while performing them. The collection includes performance notes and acknowledgments that list when and where the plays have been performed and descriptions of script changes or events that occurred during rehearsals, such as the Native cast discussion of traditional and Christian ways after rehearsal for Jump Kiss (208). Still, the reader misses the added understanding that the energy of live performance delivers. Although the basic pattern of Native American Drama is put up in Further(Farther) clearly defining-what the script is like?, Importance of dramatic language, voices, Etc going through a logical process of Scene 1,2,3 and finally the ‘ Denouement’. In ‘Denouement’, she sums up that, “A native play is often orbiculate” with “The accepted improbabilities. The indirect directions” (204). Although Glancy provides introductory discussions of her objectives for each play, the almost experimental nature of the dialogue in her goal of wanting “something that kicked apart yet was bagged, having to stay together at least on the bound level” creates more poetic gaps than answers, which the reader must then fill in with her own meaning (xi). Perhaps this aspect of Glancy’s style is in line with her literary theory, “an expanding theory with various centers of the universe, taking in more than one view, more than one multiplicity” (204). In this way, she decolonizes the usually neat and tidy denouement of Euro-American mainstream plays, insisting instead on Native perspectives that offer complex and varied answers from various cultural points of view.

In this collection, the plays- ‘Red Deer Dressed’, ‘Woman who loved house trailers’, ‘Jump Kiss’, ‘The lesser Wars’, ‘The Toad’ and ‘American Gypsy’, do create a unique environment and essentially gives us the crux of Native American Imagination, stressing on the importance of language(voice), which is very elemental. However, the playwright does not forget the performative aspects of the plays, and provides us with ample references of brilliant performances that not only moved the audience but also the playwright herself, to reconsider certain issues. So these plays not only illuminate us the readers/audience but also the playwright. Here lies the success of a Native American Play and its playwright, as the play itself becomes the manifestation of the whole tradition. The play becomes the epitome of the heritage, the history of story telling, the old Spider Women and the Multiplicity of voices. Thus, this ‘Multiplicity of voice’ resonates in our hearts long after we are done away with this text. The American Gypsy with are once again on their journey to gather new experience and so are we.
Bibliography:
Primary source:
Glancy, Diane, Jump Kiss (play), American Gypsy: Six Native American Plays, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2002,
Secondary sources:
Allen, Paula Gunn, ‘The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. Beacon Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 1992,
Allen, P. G., Spider Woman’s Granddaughters. Fawcett Columbine, New York, 1989.
Bruchac, Joseph, ed. Songs From This earth On Turtle’s Back. New York, Greenfield Review Press, 1983
Chinoy, Helen Krich, Women In American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. New York, 1987
Clark, Ella E, Indian Legends from the Northern Rockies (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1906)
Densmore, Francis, Teton Sioux Music, Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 61 (Washington, D.C., 1918; reprinted, new York: da Capo Press Reprint, 1972)
Fischer-Lichte, Erica. ‘Interpreting The Theatrical Past.’ Iowa City. University of Iowa Press. 2000
Iser, Wolfgang, Die Appellstruktur der Texte(German Text) translated by.Marvin Carlson (Constance: Druckerei und Verlagsanstalt Konstanz,1970),
Lincoln, Kenneth, ‘Native American Renaissance’ , Berkley and Los Angles, California, University of California Press, 1983
Riley, Patricia. Growing Up Native American. New York. William Morrow and Co, Inc. 1993.
Silko, Leslie Marmon (Laguna). Ceremony. New York: Viking, 1977; New York: NAL, 1978
Swann, Brian, Smoothing the Ground: Essays on Native American Oral Literature, Berkley and Los Angles, California, University of California Press, 1983
Ubersfeld, Anne, Lire le Theatre( paris: Edition Sociales, 1977)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rangamancha: The Stage

why this Blog!

The amalgamation of Theory and Praxis is on the verge of being a representative of a possible sea change in our approach to arts and its reception in our times. Is this sea change hinting at the emergence of a new idiom of aesthetics; however be it ridden in inherent dichotomy? Can we call it the new larger idiom of aesthetics. If we consider Drama And theatre then we may be heading towards a larger idiom all together that leads to and both result in that amalgamation. this blog is to voice that need for such amalgamation as both a scholar and a performer.

For example- Utpal Dutt, who strode like a Colossus over the realm of Bengali theatre staging one production after another and each one more popular than the earlier one, at the same time, trying to evolve a comprehensive to Theatre which, the untiring Thespian hoped, should serve as a model for others.

Utpal Dutt developed this new idiom not just on theoretical grounds, but in practice too. He was the first dramatist engaged in the ‘the theatre of commitment’ who tried to bridge the gap between theory and praxis. Utpal Dutt did not vaguely theorize, but showed us the proper interpretation of his theory in his dramaturgy. I hope that this study will contribute to the exploration of the one of the important versions of modern Indian theatrical modernism which is normally relegated to a subordinate position as the theory, practice and history of modern Indian theatre is most often phrased in terms of the aesthetic ' arm-chair ' modernism of drama school theatre.


-:Important readings :-
Brecht, Bertolt. Complete Works of Bertolt Brecht, ed. and trans. by J. Willett, London: Methuen, 1964.
Dutt, Utpal. Complete Works of Utpal Dutt (in Seven Volumes).Calcutta: Ghosh and Mitra, 2000.
--------- Teener Talowar (The Tin Sword), Calcutta: Jatiya Sahitya Parisad, 1973.
--------- Barricade Calcutta, JatiyaSahitya Parisad, 1977.
---------Surya-Shikar (Hunting the Sun) in Collected Plays, Vol. 2. Calcutta: Jatiya Sahitya Parisad, 1978.
-------- Hunting the Sun in Modern Indian Drama: An Anthology. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi,2000.
--------- Maha-Bidroha (The Great Rebellion) Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1986.
---------Duhswapner Nagari (The Nightmare City). Calcutta: Epic Theatre, Vol. 10/2, I979-80.
---------Towards a Revolutionary Theatre Calcutta: M.C. Sarkar & Sons, 1982.
--------- Girish Chandra Ghosh. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1992.
---------Shakespearer Samajchetana (Shakespeare's social consciousness). Calcutta: M.C. Sarkar & Sons,1972.
--------- Kya Karna hain (what is to be done) Sri Ram Memorial lecture 1, (published in Hindi), in People’s Art in the Twentieth Century: Theory and practice. New Delhi: Jana Natya Manch, 2000.


Allana, Nissar. A Tribute to Bertolt Brecht. New Delhi: Theatre and Television Associates, 1993.
Barthes, Roland. Critical Essays. Trans. by Richard Howard. Evanston: North Western University Press, 1972.
Benjamin, Walter. Understanding Brecht. Trans. by Anna Bostock. London: NLB, 1973.
Bharucha, Rustom. Rehearsals in Revolution. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.
Bhatia, Nandi. Acts of Authority/Acts of Resistance: Theater and Politics in Colonial and Postcolonial India. Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, Vol. 59, No. 2, (2005), pp. 108-109: 25 June 2008.
Bipin, Chandra. Modern India. New Delhi: NCERT, 1990.
Boal, A. Theatre of the Oppressed. London: Pluto, 1979.
Chatterjee, Sudipto. Utpal Dutt 1929-1993. TDR (1988- ), Vol. 38, No. 1, (Spring, 1994), pp. 29-30: 9 July 2008
Devine, Elizabeth. Thinker of the 20th century: A biographical & others bibliographical and critical dictionary, London: Macmillan, 1983.
Fisher-Lichte, Erika. The Semiotics of Theater. Trans. by Jeremy Gaines and Doris L. Jones. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.
Gunawardana, A. J. and Utpal Dutt. Theatre as a Weapon: An Interview with Utpal Dutt. The Drama Review: TDR, Vol. 15, No. 2, Theatre in Asia, (Spring, 1971), pp. 225-237: 25 June 2008.
Holderness, Graham. The Politics of Theatre and Drama. Ed. London: Macmillan, 1992.
Jackson, Shannon. Professing Performance: Theatre in Academy from Philology to Performativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Mitra, Shayoni. Badal Sircar: Scripting a Movement. TDR, Fall 2004, Vol. 48, No. 3 (T183), Pages 59-78: 25 June 2008.
Nicoll, Allardyce. Theory of Drama, New Delhi: Doaba House, Nai Sarak, 1974.
Pavis, Patrice. Theatre at the crossroads of culture. Trans. by Loren Kruger. London: Routledge, 1992.
Sircar, Badal. The Changing Language of Theatre. New Delhi: ICCR, 1982.
Willett, J. The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: a Study from Eight Aspects. Rev. Ed. London: Methuen, 1977.
Willett, J. Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches. London: Methuen, 1984.

Journals
Bahroop Theatre Digest, New Delhi: Bahroop Arts Group, April 2000.
Contemporary India Theatre, New Delhi: Sangeet Natak Academy, 1989.
Epic Theatre, Kolkata: Utpal Dutt Foundation For International Theatre Studies (1994- ).
Natrang, Quarterly Magazine, New Delhi: Natrang Pratisthan (1994).
Nukkad Janam Samvaad (Vol. II-III, nos. 4-8). New Delhi: Jana Natya Manch, July 1999-September 2000.
Rang Prasang, Quarterly Magazine, New Delhi: National School of Drama, (2001).
Seagull Theatre Quarterly (Now Defunct), Kolkata: STQ publication, (1994- 2003).
Theatre India, Quarterly Magzine, New Delhi: National School of Drama, September 2003.