Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is Theatre losing its importance?

Maybe not importance but it is losing audience, if I look around, I find that the majority of the population goes to the movies these days. Most people of my generation do not watch plays.

There was a time when there was only theatre, and it was one of the best ways of entertaining people. My parents watched a lot of plays in their time, though they also watched films, but theatre was still quite popular then.

I have had opportunities to watch plays but not that many. And every time I watch a play, I love it!The content, the acting, and the message everything is so good. Every time I watch a play, my respect for it increases manifold. I wonder why I don't watch plays more often.  It's almost like as if I have to be reminded that plays exist.

One thing that is for sure is that theatre hardly goes through major promotional campaigns. I guess it requires so much money that it does not make sense. Most youngsters these days have not watched a play. They are mostly into movies. This is kind of sad because a good play is something that must not be missed.

I went to watch a Bengali play, Ebar Rajar Pala, written by actor Utpal Dutt yesterday. This was a rendition of one of those classic plays from the 1970s.I was watching a play after perhaps 5 years! And I loved it. The play had it all…it had its funny moments, there was never a dull moment, and acting was out of the world...I did not know how two and a half hours just flew by.

Surprisingly or maybe not, the hall was full and it comprised of a lot of teenaged or college going population. I was pleasantly surprised. I think there is a section of people who are theatre loyalists and they make it a point to watch plays.

Many of our successful actors started off their careers by acting in plays. It is not easy to act in plays. There are after all no takes and re takes. These are extremely talented people.

I have made up my mind to watch at least a few plays a year. Let’s see if I can keep this resolution. But seriously, it is worth the effort to watch a good play, not only is it entertaining, it makes you think, the underlying message is too powerful to miss. I guess this is why plays used to be and still are a good vehicle of spreading a message.

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