Indian Theatre expands the boundaries of what is usually regarded as theatre in order to explore the multiple dimensions of theatrical performance in India. From rural festivals to contemporary urban theatre, from dramatic rituals and devotional performances to dance-dramas and classical Sanskrit plays, this volume is a vivid introduction to the colourful and often surprising world of Indian performance. Besides mapping the vast range of performance traditions, the volume provides in-depth treatment of representative genres, including well-known forms such as kathakali and ramalila and little-known performances such as tamasa. Each of these chapters explains the historical background of the theatre form under consideration and interprets its dramatic literature, probes its ritual or religious significance, and, where relevant, explores its social and political implications.
Moreover, each chapter, except for those on the origins of Indian theatre, concludes with performance notes describing the actual experience of seeing a live performance in its original context. Based on extensive fieldwork, Indian Theatre is the first comprehensive account of the subject to be written by Western specialists and addressed to the needs of readers in the West. It will be a valuable resource for all students of Indian culture and a standard work in the history of theatre and performance for years to come.