Saturday, July 22, 2006

To make theatre, one has to share space with living people

MOHAN MAHARISHI The Hindu Friday Review Delhi Friday, Jul 21, 2006
It is quite true that all of us would like to live in a society where culture in general and theatre in particular plays a significant role in negotiating social tensions, while defining our relationship with the whole psycho-spiritual environment we live in. Enlightening and entertaining people is the long established function of all art forms, especially theatre.
Even if the reader wishes to discount the bias of a theatre person (who, all his life, has done nothing to earn his bread except creating theatre) most would agree that theatre is an art form that has more direct relationship with the living impulses of a given society. It is so because not only is its site of exhibition social (as a theatrical event unfolds before a live audience), but the site of its making, unlike other art forms, is also social. Making theatre is not a job that one can do alone, hidden away in a studio or in the solitude of the Himalayas.
To make theatre, one has to come down to earth and share space with living people. It is a group work and demands creative interaction at every stage with the whole lot of other people. The final product, if there is ever one, is the result of months of colluding between thoroughly trained and exceptionally talented individuals.Good theatre demands the highest form of co-operation between creative human beings. How does one create an environment where this kind of activity is initiated and sustained over a period of time?
One cannot blame the young theatre graduates for having opted out for greener pastures. One could probably avoid that if theatre were a viable career option. The absence of professional theatre companies in the country leaves no alternative before a trained and talented young actor. After all, he too is responding to an overall social situation where success in terms of money and fame is idealised.

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