Shadow plays in Indian theatre.

A scene from the shadow play drama depicting the discussion among working women(the head that is seen at the left is of a spectator)
A scene from the shadow play drama depicting the discussion among working women(the head that is seen at the left is of a spectator) | Source
Opening part of the play.A worker woman holds a coconut palm leaf to indicate they are agricultural laborers
Opening part of the play.A worker woman holds a coconut palm leaf to indicate they are agricultural laborers | Source
Working women discussing their problems at the work spot.
Working women discussing their problems at the work spot. | Source
Laborers expressing their solidarity to fight.
Laborers expressing their solidarity to fight. | Source
 One worker cautioning others about the problems to be faced in fighting
One worker cautioning others about the problems to be faced in fighting | Source
Shouting slogans against exploitation.
Shouting slogans against exploitation. | Source
Children of workers matching, supporting their elders.
Children of workers matching, supporting their elders. | Source
 A little girl, of a worker, dancing in cheer,symbolizing the happiness that may generate after a revolution.
A little girl, of a worker, dancing in cheer,symbolizing the happiness that may generate after a revolution. | Source

Indian thetre activities

India is not only a world leader in movie making, but also in theatrical activities.Hundreds of play troupes are actively working in different parts of India.they are staging different types of plays.Theme of those plays vary from mythological stories to modern absurd events,from political allegory to social happenings. Similarly, Indian theater people are employing all sorts of technics- from LCD projectors to puppets, from shadow play to traditional actors.

IPTA

IPTA or 'Indian peoples theater Association, is one such organization actively using theater as a tool to create awareness among people against exploitation, sex discrimination, corruption,etc.This organization has undoubtedly leftist orientation.It has a political bend towards communism,though the activists do not essentially belong to that party.

Recently,from December 26 2001 to 28th,Dec, A national level convention of IPTA was organized at Bhilai, in Chattisgarh state, India .There, different Indian state troops exhibited their theatrical shows.Among them a half- an hour play,staged by Madhya Pradesh team attracted everybody's attention. This whole play was enacted using the shadow play technique

Theme of the play

The theme of the play is simple . Poor women in a certain village used to work as labourers and earn their livelihood. But the factory employer uses to exploit them without giving holidays, proper wage amount, sick leave etc. He used to treat them roughly. He also discriminates them on caste basis.At last they rebel against this and unite to fight. A little girl's cheerful behavior fills enthusiasm in them to live for such young souls and fight against injustice.

Effect of the play

The play was very successfully staged. Everybody appreciated that.

Advantages of the technique

Following are the advantages of using the shadow play technique-

1. It diminishes the importance of wearing perfect costume.Even if it is dirty, or worn out, the show can go on.

2 Make up is unnecessary.

3 Use of too many lights is not necessary.

.........and so on.

Some essentials

For a successful shadow play,certain other things are essential.These, even if little bit defective, can make the show good in a regular plays.These essentials are the following:

1. Good voice modulation

2 Perfect and perfect body language.

3 Proper back-lighting.


Little girl, symbol of enthusiasm and tomorrow's hopes,filling spirit in the tired Granny,
Little girl, symbol of enthusiasm and tomorrow's hopes,filling spirit in the tired Granny, | Source
Little girl, handing over red flag, symbol of revolution, to the granny and whole mass following in march.
Little girl, handing over red flag, symbol of revolution, to the granny and whole mass following in march. | Source
People marching for a change-begining of a revolt.
People marching for a change-begining of a revolt. | Source

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Comments 5 comments

Danielle Farrow profile image

Danielle Farrow 4 years ago from Scotland, UK

There look to be some striking images created in this production - thank you for sharing it, prasadjain!

Please tell how the red flag affect is achieved, when everything else is in shadow.


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 4 years ago from Tumkur Author

Your question is right Mrs. Farrow. But as I was only a spectator, i could not actually see how that effect was brought.My later inquiries revealed me that they had used one more light close to the flag apart from a distant general light in the background.


Danielle Farrow profile image

Danielle Farrow 4 years ago from Scotland, UK

Thank you - very useful!


anusujith profile image

anusujith 4 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

Sir is it PAVAKKUTH?


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 4 years ago from Tumkur Author

I did not hear that name while witnessing the show

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