Wednesday 6 November 2019

Other theatres - symbolic, magic - The Eastern Eye: Column by Dr.Utpal K Banerjee

In the ancient Greek drama as well as in the great Shakespearean theatre it inspired, usually a single transition takes place in the performance that is crucial for you as the viewer: transition from "Here and Now" of your mundane present to the "There and Then" of the dramatic events. The theatre is palpable behind the "invisible fourth wall"; the flesh-and-blood actors deliver their dialogue; there is a reasonable unity of time and space; and the sequence of events takes you from the formulation of a problem right up to its solution.

But there can also be an alternative theatre of the kind conceived by Sergei Obraztsov of Russia, for instance, which may permit multiple transitions from the "Here and Now" to the "There and Then". In their world that calls -from the beginning -- for suspension of your disbelief, symbols and allegories are galore; the actors can be physical characters and/or puppets who speak the puppeteer's lingo and performing dolls; the unity of time and space goes for a toss; and the sequence of events can be equally topsy-turvy. Two excellent specimens of the latter variety were witnessed recently by this critic.

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