A History of the Jana Natya Manch: Plays for the People by Arjun Ghosh

By Arjun Ghosh

A historical past of the Jana Natya Manch chronicles the beginning and progress of the Jana Natya Manch (Janam), a Delhi-based radical theater workforce which has been energetic considering that 1973. starting within the early Seventies, whilst a gaggle of younger scholars in Delhi sought to proceed the legacy of the Indian Peoples' Theatre organization, the e-book takes an in depth yet serious examine a number of the stages within the 4 a long time of the theatre collective. the writer has additionally captured inside of those pages the functioning of Janam as a company, its equipment of attracting and coaching clean expertise, the method of scripting, interactions with mass corporations, the event of acting virtually skin-to-skin with its spectators within the dust of Indian streets, and masses extra. This ebook is not just a narration of Janam s historical past, improvement and functioning, it's also an try to throw clean gentle at the perform of theater.

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As they worked more and more, they inched toward a desire to give shape to a full-fledged theater group. It was at this stage that the group, under the guidance of the CPI(M), realized that if they were to gain a foothold in the progressive cultural movement of Delhi, they had to revive the legacy of the IPTA in Delhi. The IPTA in Delhi had become defunct since 1962–1963 (M. Hashmi 1997, 58). Since then, the CPI had split. Notionally the Delhi edition of the IPTA continued to be with the CPI, but its work no longer included any meaningful theater.

So at three o’clock we were let in. We went in and everybody got up to go—they thought it was over and so they got up. Suddenly they saw this group of six young people, wearing black T-shirts and blue jeans, who made some formation which was obviously a machine, and we were producing mechanical sounds. So there was this pause, this silence and everybody sat down and the machine went on. It usually goes on for ... what? fifteen seconds in a normal show, but that day it went on for at least forty five seconds.

The machine runs this way for a few 35 36 A History of the Jana Natya Manch moments. Once the idea of the machine is crystallized, the Sutradhar comes in to describe the machine—this is no ordinary machine: “A Machine made of iron. A Machine of the factory. The Machine has an owner, and has many parts, that is workers. The machine runs all day, and all night too. ” Thus, from the concrete machine of the factory emerges an abstraction of the system of production. This is an attempt to enter into an analysis of the capitalist structure through an image to which all workers share tremendous intimacy—the machine.

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