Theatrical Revolutionaries: Vol. 3 Girish Karnad

"The impact of British theatre led to the separation of the audience from the stage by the proscenium, underscoring the fact that what was being presented was a spectacle free of any ritualistic associations and which therefore expected no direct participation by the audience in it....” (Karnad)

Karnad’s theatre is hybrid theatre. With two folk beliefs and a folktale Karnad puts Naga-Mandala on the proscenium. He incorporates some of the folk theatre techniques such as songs, dances, metamorphosis of the animal into human and so on. Folklore reflects traits of the people, the impact of the environment, the means of amusement, customs, rituals, mannerisms, social structure, pattern of life of a particular folk group and collective memory. Assimilating these elements into Naga Mandala, Girish Karnad indulges in a certain mythopoeic act. After the independence from British rule, when Indian theatre was struggling to find its roots and a quest for an Indian voice was imminent after years of erasure of the Indian idiom of representation, Girish Karnad was one of the playwrights to create a theatre that spoke to the Indian psyche shaking off the cultural amnesia through years of colonization of the mind.

 

Naga Mandala is not only stylistically a challenge to the British literary hegemony but also subverts patriarchal and sexual mores.

 

Method : A close reading of the dramatic text with analysis of terms, socio-economic and cultural context, caste, and Indian milieu. 

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