Years ago, when I was exposed to the magic world of theatre, I was told that theatre reflects life. That was nearly forty-five years ago. I was just a viewer then.
Today after years of practice and performances, I have probably started to realise what was meant by that statement.
Even though theatre as an art is one of its kind, in accordance with the changing world of culture and politics, it has gone through major changes that have created different genres, styles, forms, design and language. Not only has it innovated upon a different definition for itself but it has also created a group of brilliant specialists on lights, sound, music, sets etc. Having said that, I feel technology has played a key role but hasn’t overshadowed the pure and raw edge of this medium.
Today, technological advancement is opening up a large spectrum of experimentation in script and design. This is also attracting the new generation back to theatre. It is functioning like a bridge between the old and the new, each finding a way to the other resulting in some truly innovative work even if not always successful.
The most interesting aspect of these times is our acceptance of technology as an integral part of our life and this has given a new lease to theatre as a medium. There is a definite curiosity towards the past creative process in terms of script or form in order to initiate an altogether new structure or method. Whether it is an actor or a director or a designer or even specialists, everyone is going through a paradigm shift. A production today is no more just a replica of actual reality but at times exploring content and design of an ethereal quality, which evokes an experience of virtual reality, heightening the entertaining element of theatre.
Another major leap has been breaking the convention of performance space. The whole gamut of innovation in our changing times has created a need for different type of stage-space. Today, theatre seems to have come out of the proscenium into a range of spaces at times taking even audiences under its wing and transforming them from viewers to active participants.
This kind of experimentation has also taken dance and movement to a level wherein a new language of expression has been created, breaking away from set systems or methods as prescribed by Stanislavsky or Adler or Strasberg. This has opened up a fresh avenue for actors and found a new idiom of expression that has added a different dimension to characterisation.
In the changing world order today, theatre is definitely going through a process of huge transformation to redefine its very language, even though this ancient art form still remains at its heart, the same.