From Proscenium to Public: Explorations of Body and Space in Sircar’s Third Theatre
Keywords:Third Theatre, Spatial Dynamics, Theatrical Transgression, Performance Studies, Intimate Theatre, Space, Body, Anganmancha, Muktamancha, Physical Theatre, Alternate Theatre, Postmodern theatre
The name of Badal Sircar, the Bengali playwright, actor and theatre activist, holds a very prestigious position in the history of modern Indian theatre. Both in the field of the Indian mainstream proscenium theatre and in that of the Alternative/Street theatre, he has made significant contribution to the Indian drama. In the post-independence period, when Indian theatre world was caught in the debate of “modern” and “Indian”, he established a brand-new genre of theatre called “Third Theatre”. Third Theatre provided a potent resolution to the inherent dichotomy in modern Indian drama by skillfully reconciling indigenous theatrical tools and techniques with the Western proscenium tradition of a text-based, plot-driven idea of theatre. Sircar’s style is thus a hybrid of folk theatre and proscenium theatre. This was a creative attempt to create an alternate media to effectively spread the playwright's views among the populace. With all these innovative ideas, philosophies and techniques, Sircar’s primary purpose was to bridge the gap between the drama and the audience, between the rural and the urban, between the form and the content etc., and to attain to the ideals of liveness and direct communication in theatrical experience. This effort aids him in breaking sharply with the modern Bengali theatre, which is fixated on the manner of presentation used in the English Victorian drama, and elevating it to a hitherto unattainable level of artistry. The present paper seeks to explore how Badal Sircar experimented with the body of the actor and with the performance space in order to create a syncretic form of theatre accessible equally to the rural and urban.
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