Theatres of Independence is the first comprehensive study of drama, theatre, and urban performance in post-independence India. Combining theatre history with theoretical analysis and literary interpretation, Aparna Dharwadker examines the unprecedented conditions for writing and performance that the experience of new nationhood created in a dozen major Indian languages, and offers detailed discussions of the major plays, playwrights, directors, dramatic genres, and theories of drama that have made the contemporary Indian stage a vital part of postcolonial and world theatre. The first part of Dharwadker's study deals with the new dramatic can that emerged after 1950, and the variety of ways in which plays are written, produced, translated, circulated, and received in a multilingual national culture. The second part traces the formation of significant postcolonial dramatic genres from their origins in myth, history, folk narrative, sociopolitical experience, and the intertextual connections between Indian, European, British, and American drama. The book's ten appendixes collect extensive documentation of the work of leading playwrights and directors, as well as a record of the contemporary multilingual performance histories of major Indian, Western, and n-Western plays from all periods and genres. Treating drama and theatre as strategically interrelated activities, the study makes post-independence Indian theatre visible as a multifaceted critical subject to scholars of modern drama, comparative theatre, theatre history, and the new national and postcolonial literatures.
Aparna Dharwadker is associate professor of theatre and drama at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Her work on contemporary Indian theatre and comparative postcolonial theatres has appeared in such journals as PMLA, Modern Drama, New Theatre Quarterly, Theatre Journal, Theatre India, and Theatre Research International. She has held research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Folger Library, and the Newberry Library, among others.