Monday, February 6, 2023

All the world’s a stage

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Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, March 31: The International Theatre Association organized the staging of plays from almost all centres around the world on March 27, 1961 in France. It is not that theatre was not recognized or was not popular earlier. History is replete with information on the most powerful performing medium. The amphitheatre in Rome is a relic to reaffirm the presence of theatre in man’s progress. In fact, the first form of communication was imitation of sound and movement by people of the Paleolithic age. Man had just discovered fire then and hunters, after the day’s kill used to gather around the fire in which their prey used to be grilled while they made physical gestures to enact how the animal they had hunted growled and moved. Perhaps, that was the beginning of theatre.

In the multihued mini cosmopolis of Jamshedpur known for its world famed Tata Steel, Tata Motors and other industries, sports and cultural pursuits have been ways of life since the beginning of the 20th century. Theatre has been a dominant feature and although there were hiccups in the final two decades preceding the turn of the millennium, theatre continues to retain the pink in its cheeks in spite of receding performing groups.

World Theatre Day was celebrated in the city through seminars and theatrical presentations. A seminar on the day was organized by People’s Association for Theatre (PATH) at the Kala Mandir auditorium. Various speakers gave their observations on this bold medium of performing arts, the history, road blocks, survival measures adopted and the path ahead.

The topic of discussion was, ‘Theatre Through Changing Times’ and was moderated by time tested theatre personality, Md Nizam. His vast experience built on dedication and the passion to experiment with a blend of the new and veteran performers, was to the fore when he said, “Theatre creates and does not destroy the edifices of society and culture. It glorifies literary works, reflects societal processes and invigorates social thinking and positive attitudes.”

Nizam highlighted the fact that although organizations had built theatre auditoriums for the purpose of hosting drama, they had turned into exhibition halls and marriage ceremony venues. “But this sad state of affairs however, did not deter theatre activists. They performed on temporary stages, street corners and wherever they got even hints of opportunities,” he said.

Renowned cultural activist, Amitava Ghosh stressed that like all other social concepts, movements and executions, theatre too was a group activity and similarly so was theatre.  Even single artiste shows had a lot of technical persons working behind th scenes to get messages across. “So, any activity, in order to be successful, needs to be performed in a group. Theatre is no different, Theatre workers should always be prepared to innovate and their thought process should be fertile to accommodate positive changes,” he observed.

Arpita Srivastav of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) averred that theatre gave shape to positive thoughts and concrete human values. She said, “Human values are important in measuring progress of human civilization. Theatre does that and it is human values that make a good human being. For theatre, social posers and redemption of human values are the blends that go to create a resilient group and such groups create good and meaningful theatre.”

Director of ‘Nav Srijan,’ Bhagirathi Pradhan defined the similarity between science and the performing arts. “This combination of similarities is of vital necessity for society.”

Another well known theatre activist dedicated to the cause of theatre, Ravi Mishra who runs an academy, ‘An Actor Prepares,’ spoke on the nuances of script writing.

More than 50 theatre activists participated in the seminar. among them were Gautam Gope, Sanjay Bharati and Krishna Karmakar. The vote of thanks was offered by PATH’s veteran artiste Chhavi Das.

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