An Apology for Theatre
Perhaps the sole justification of theatre creation is that it is one of man’s oldest creative acts. For centuries, theatre has been able to recreate men’s most cherished ideals in the “empty space” and, in spite of the imagined or real threats of extinction in the age of celluloid, television and finally internet, theatre is still alive with all its vitality and challenges.
But theatre inevitably needs to be brought to life by the voice and movement of living actors who build up a performance out of the dead pages of a text. What an audience hears and sees in the theatre is the product of the originative mind of the author, of the careful study and imaginative projection of the play by the director and of the equally careful study and interpretation of every detail of the various parts by the actors themselves. However, it is the imaginative participation of the audience that breathes life into any successful performance. In the end, theatre becomes a celebration of collective imagination.
Theatre is truly a social product, so it invites a re-examination of social life. Theatre makes it possible for the interaction between the old and the new to take place in a way which is unique among all the other art forms. The old truth is uttered in the new time under the new garb and under the new lingo of the contemporaneous. In this way theatre often involves the rediscovery of old myths in modern terms. Theatre cannot help but be socially committed.
Theatre is fundamental to human nature as it is the oldest art and includes all of the art forms. Theatre is ephemeral and immediate. The joy of theatre lies in its immediacy, but the sadness of theatre is that the joy is fleeting. And yet, paradoxically, this fleeting image of life captures the eternal truths of life.
Prachyanat: An Introduction
Fifteen years ago, in a winter evening of 1997, a handful of young theatre enthusiasts came to realise that, in order to give shape to some of their common ideas about art and theatre in particular, they had to work from a common platform. The result was the birth of a new theatre group in February 1997 with the name Prachyanat.
However, from the very outset, these youthful dreamers wanted that this new group should not become a mere addition in the already crowded theatre scenario of Dhaka. As a result of the tireless efforts of the members of Prachyanat, many of its dreams have now flowered into reality.
Apart from producing four full-length plays, all of which have been critically acclaimed and appreciated by the theatre lovers at home and abroad, Prachyanat now has as many as eight different programmes ─ all of which, in one way or another, keep alive the passion for artistic creativity.
Besides producing four very successful plays by some of the foremost professionals of the country, another crowning success of Prachyanat is the establishment of ”Prachyanat School of Acting and Design” in the year 2001. The school has successfully run thirty 6-month courses while its thirty-second batch is already underway. This very young theatre group did not have to wait for long before institutional recognition came its way. Within two years of its existence, Prachyanat achieved the distinction of being the best theatre group for the year 1999. Awards and other distinctions were quick to follow ─ such as The Best Theatre Group, The Best Play of the Year, The Best Light Design.
The most important thing about this group is its dynamism and this courage induced the group to come up with new areas of activity. The Theatre in the Open, Prachyanat for Children, Theatre–lab Production, Prachyanat Research Cell, and the Musical Ensemble ― are all part of the group’s creative approach. Prachyanat’s future plan includes a fully equipped theatre centre that will become a hub of all its theatre activities.