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
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