Abstract

Political theatre has often relied upon farce and satire to make a veiled but effective critique of political trends. In contemporary India, however, political theatre is facing a new challenge in trying to find ways to "out-farce" a political arena that already has become inherently farcical. There are two special challenges addressed here. The first comes from the state of Kerala in southwestern India, where a self-styled progressive state government in the hands of the Communist Party has come under attack by critical play-wrights for ossifying into orthodoxy and complacency. The second challenge centers on the difficulties faced by playwrights who have turned toward so-called indigenous or folk models of theatre to voice their critiques. Since the national government in Delhi has tried to utilize the symbols of an invented indigenous past to establish its legitimacy, critical theatre often finds itself applauded and even co-opted by the very political forces against which it has directed its dissent. This article examines the difficulties of establishing a "pure" space for political theatre in contemporary India and offers as a conclusion a possible path toward resolution.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2109
Print ISSN
0742-5457
Pages
pp. 174-199
Launched on MUSE
2001-09-01
Open Access
No
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