Entire theatre fraternity across the globe, today anxiously awaits the eloquent and intelligent voice of Isabelle Huppert , the gorgeous versatile French theatre,television and movie actress of world fame, for her evening address on the podium of historic UNESCO hall,Paris.Bringing alive the illustrious tradition of celebrating “World Theatre Day”, initiated 55 years ago by the International Theatre Institute, she has been chosen to author the prestigious International message,this year. The first World Theatre Day Message was written by Jean Cocteau in 1962 at “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris.Ever since, each year on the 27th March World Theatre Day is being celebrated across the world in more than hundred ITI centers with special presentation of International message authored by the theatre personality of world stature
Actor is the invincible artery of theatrical apparatus.It is a matter of great honour for the global actor community that one among them is the author of prestigious International message on world theatre day,this year. Actors in Jammu and Kashmir have evolved through the metamorphosis from an epic verse singer,parsi melodrama performer to the Stanislavskian artist, thrusting on the exploration of performers own subconscious behavior and emotional experience. In contemporary times, deeply influenced by the Stanislavskian actor, eminent theatre director late Sh Kavi Rattan Sharma’s repertoire was witness of strictly groomed, feeling based , intense ,self evolving and emotive actor. All his directorial works including noted plays like Mohan Rakesh’s Aadhe Adhure ,Anil Barve’s “Thank You Mr. Glad”,Gujrati Bhavai folk based play “Jasma Oden”,classical plays like “Mattvilas” and “Bhagvad Ajjukayin”, Badal Sarkar’s “Baki Itihas”, “Pagla Ghora”, “Juloos”,” Saptacus” and Tendulkar’s “Panchi Aise Aate Hain”, literarily became an inspirational trendsetter for a heart ,blood and soul enriched performer, supported by alluring professional innovations in proscenium , for the other theatre groups of 1970s,early 80s and aftermath.Advent of Balwant Thakur the creative theatre maestro of world stature,in early 1980s, actually responsible for catapulting Dogri to national and international map through his theatrical genius, trained his actor to expand from limited consciousness and crisscross the boundaries of verbal ,non verbal, living, nonliving, stylized ,psychophysical, reactionary ,symbolic , intensely expressive and experimental communications.
Oriental actor can be traced to the performance of Bharat Muni, envisioned by Brahma ,to have audience with the His hundred sons , before gifting this art actually to humanity.Classical actor was a fully trained versatile entity imbibing the restrain of body,expresson and mind as envisaged by Bharat muni in the syntax of Natyashastra,the world’s first dramaturgy. Actor in the Raas lila parties known as rasdharis performing along the entire north India including J&K in 19th century, was a typical mythological narrator who dealt with aesthetics, bhav(expression), histrionics and singing, in then popular “Krishna gan” style.Inspired by British need to smoothen dialogue with the Indian diasporas, Parsi theatre’s advent in mid 18th century ushered a new era of theatrical modernity and wonder. Victoria theatrical company and Alfred theatre company travelled the entire northern subcontinent with modern stagecraft and stylized acting melodrama, influencing the then theatre aspirants of our state. Presenting synthesis ol socio mythological narrative ,morality and entertainment ,Ramlila performances were thronged by the audience to watch their choicest local actors playing the prominent mythological characters. Ramleela actors were deeply influenced by the parsi melodrama. Reputed Personalities like Kundanlal Sehgal,Om Prakash and Sunder were the prominent exponents who acted on Deewan Mandir Ramlila stage, in pre independence era.
Great contribution by the visiting legendary theatre troupes followed by regular succession of prominent theatre groups in both capital cites of Srinagar and Jammu ,in pre and post colonial centuries, until now, is responsible for shaping the theatre environment and awareness in our state. Nurtured with discipline, zeal and endearing creative insights by internationally acclaimed theatre director Padamshree Balwant Thakur,Natrang is the singular professional NGO theatre institution of the state to have acquired pan Indian and global eminence , owing to its three and a half decade consistent endeavour in to the forays of quality theatre,be its never ending shows of Dogri ,Magnum opus,’Bawa Jitto” or globally sought after masterpiece on ecological challenges “Ghumayee”or the excellence of theatre creative matrix “Gulab Gatha”or other countless performances, Sunday studio theatre,Natrang festivals,children workshops,regular export of its theatre productions in premier festivals and destinations across the world.It has produced generations of celebrated actors, technicians and directors ,singers,playwrights who have earned prominence in the fields of theatre,television and film in the national landscape
In an almost three and a half decade association with theatre as activist, theatre person, critic and columnist, I has never come across a theatre personality who would literary earn and learn his art of theatre in extremely chaotic beginning as Mushtaq Kak did.It has been really a marathon hard acquired voyage for him to receive Sangeet Natak Academy award in theatre direction.His inherent aesthetic sensibility towards light ,music and colour evolved with the refinement of craft and dramatic contours, gradually shaped his theatrical insights into an unparalleled exposition.Although dealing mythical play like N D Jamwal’s “Devyani” in the beginning of his career,gave a fair idea about his courage and conviction to attempt challenging plays,yet his later works like Moti Lal Kemmu’s “NagarUdase”,DharamVirBharti’s”AndhaYug”,”Mallika”,”Chekov in my Life”,”Andora”,”Maha Brahmin”, dramatised stories of Saadat Hasan Manto, and other works convey a lot about his earned excellence in the art of theatre. Of late his directional masterpiecs like adaptation of Tasca’s The Balkan Women,translated as “Balkan ki Auraten” by Uma Jhunjhunwala and theatrical adaptation of renowned writer Khalid Hussain’s story by Preetam Katoch, “Ishak Malangi” are being staged successively across prime Indian theatre destinations.
JK Academy since its inception in 1960 has remained the only surviving source for the amateur theatre bandwagon of state through its annual drama festivals. Since the arrival of a well known literary activist and eminent litterateur of our state,Dr Aziz Hajni as its secretary, one can evidently witness an honest attempt to bring expertise and excellence to the local theatre landscape.
Doubling the production fee and inviting more and more collaborative national and international theatre festivals and ventures with NSD,SNA and host of other theatre/cultural organizations, indicates surely the beginning of better exposure and growth for the theatre aspirants and onlookers in our border Himalayan state.
Theatre flows with the time to the needs,changes and challenges decided by none other than time itself. Today’s local actor,well connected globally is more aware, exposed and alert than his yester-decade counterparts. His approach to develop character is brilliantly instant and faster.He remains hurried to jog through the other mediums for acquiring early success, fame and cozy livelihood.Theatre more or less for him is an approachable nursery to equip and develop art and aspirations and then move on, or revisit for brief spells.Probably he has to deal with shoestring alleys of survival in the challenging times where art seems becoming yet another consumer commodity. A sea of challenges for Ravinder Sharma, Arushi Thakur, Abhishek Bharti,Ifra Mushtaq Kak and many other brilliant young creative directors of the day, doing regular quality theatre. We need to move on. Isabelle Huppert conveys it so distinctively in her message on World Theatre day, “Theatre is always reborn from its ashes, shedding only its previous conventions in its new-fangled forms: that is how it stays alive.”