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Staging Beckett in Bengal

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Revisiting History and Art

image of Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui

Despite the fact that it has been marked by a persistent interaction with Western plays and performance traditions, Beckett’s work has never featured extensively within the realms of Indian Theatre. In fact, if one studies Indian Theatre closely one finds that Indian playwrights and theatre groups have most extensively drawn upon authors such as Shakespeare, Brecht, Ibsen, Chekhov, and so on. The philosophical, cultural and formal dimension of Beckett’s plays, however, have never really been so easily assimilated. In fact, only Waiting for Godot, perhaps the most academically accessible text, has been translated and performed widely, and is also a part of the University curriculum. For example, 1970s West Bengal (an Eastern State of India) had witnessed a revolutionary movement called the Naxalite Movement. Agitprop dramas were in vogue and the masses supported the Movement. Drawing on debates about interculturalism and theatre, this essay will contextualise an interview with a theatre group behind a production of Waiting for Godot in Bengal during that time.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, Budge Budge Institute of Technology, India


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