Vol. 1 No. 2 (2016): Women in the Indian Performance Tradition
ISSN No: 2583-4347
The Samyukta special issue on 'Women in Indian Performance' is a continuation of the research focusing on women in Asian performance which I started in 2013.. Being a performer and researcher on Kutiyattam from India, I am specifically interested in studying the contribution of women to Indian performance traditions and this special issue is the culmination of that ambition. The volume brings together eight essays and two interviews contributed by scholars from India, the United States and Italy. The contributions also cover a range of highly interesting topics, from the interview of Kalanidhi Narayanan about her initial years of training and career, to a critical review of Nirbhaya, a play on the Delhi gang rape written by Yael Farber in 2013.
Essays and interviews this volume feature offers a radical reassessment of the place of women in Indian performances. What is the purpose of this special issue beyond the personal reasons listed above? Indian performance practice have been an active area of study among theatre scholars and practitioners all over the world for several decades, exerting substantial influence on the contemporary performance practices and actor-training methods. Nevertheless, critical debates and studies that aim at investigating and reassessing the role of women and their contribution to artistic practices in the Indian performance scene are relatively limited. Given the fact that Indian performances are broad and varied in number and style, such studies only marginally address the place and contribution of women in Indian performances. Critical work generating a more comprehensive view On women in Indian performances and mapping a broader territory in this relation is indeed necessary. Therefore, Samyukta special issue on 'Women in Indian performance is a novel attempt at initiating thoughts, generating scholarly work and critically reassessing the contribution of women in Indian performances.
Complexities involved with assessing the place of women in Indian performances are manifold and I am attempting to simply map the territory. Academic essays and interviews published in this special issue aim to acknowledge the creative contributions of women practitioners in Indian performances. I genuinely hope that this volume will make significant contribution to the area of gender studies in India.
Guest Editor - ARYA MADHAVAN