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Reading design in works of Satyadev Dubey and Ebrahim Alkazi!


So, I was shuffling through the history of early theatre in the country.It quite struck me that theatre directors would use `plays from European and American playwrights, in the nascent point of the career of an artist.

These plays mostly are either by early Greeks, George Bernard Shaw, Albert Camus, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Luigi Pirandello, and Samuel Beckett.

The reason I understand is that Indian theatre if there is anything like that term, has a strong base of street theatre or improvisation. Leaving some portions of a piece absolutely to chance or mood of the performing artists.

For good reasons or not, the structural, logical, production-sense [in the fullest sense of the word] could not develop in Mumbai; and probably other parts of the country.

This is not to say that there is no logic in the culture and traditions of a country. But, understanding them in the categories of stage production and lighting ; is not ready.

There is a universal theatre production parlance, which any group with sufficient amount of training can attain. I am assuming that there is a "production sense"; techniques, attitude, will to execute a production through different departments like acting, marketing, team meetings, practice, spending time in free time; which gives a production the fuller sense of a production.

This production sense is what early theatre directors like Satyadev Dubey tried to inculcate in the early practitioners.

Some plays were done at Bhulabhai Desai memorial point to this way of training: All My Sons [ Arthur Miller], Oedipus Rex [Sophocles], Band Darwaaze [ a Hindi adaptation of Jean Paul Sartre's No exit.], The proposal [Anton Chekhov], Dreams [Albert Camus], Doll's House [Arthur Miller], Arms and the man [George Bernard Shaw], Medea [ Euripides], The Father [ August Strindberg], Yerma [ Garcia Lorca], St Joan [ Jean Anouilh], Murder in the Cathedral [ T.S. Eliot.], Suddenly last Summer [tennesse Williams.], and The Mad Woman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux.

Early Bombay theatre had works like Pu La Deshpande's "Tujhe Ahe Tujapashi", thrillers like Dial M for Murder and Deewar.

Actor-Director Ebrahim Alazi had studied at RADA but did not wish to join any theatre establishment in London. Instead he started the Theatre Unit. He staged Jean Anouilh's Antigone and Eurydice, Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, to begin with. [ Colin Ruth acts in the National Theatre Production now.]

This blog is just to retrace the previous blog of me suggesting more design sense into productions! The design sense approach can be traced to early Mumbai theatre to directors like Satyadev Dubey and Ebrahim Alkazi!

Dear Liar directed by Satyadev Dubey. Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah in the cast.


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