The origins of the Indian theatre industry can be traced all the way back to the times of Alexander The Great. In these five thousand years, there have obviously been uncountable plays in various formats. Out of these, however, there have been a handful of plays which are so mind-blowingly good and ahead of their time that any person – theatre lover or not – should watch them even today.
Here are three such evergreen Indian plays that you should definitely catch as soon as their next show is listed!
1. Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe: Written by Vijay Tendulkar, the play explores the themes of infanticide and extra-marital affairs. Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe, translates to Silence! The Court is in Session and has had its share of controversies when it was first staged owing to the sensitive theme. It follows the mock trial of a schoolteacher Leela Benare who has been charged for having an illegitimate affair with a professor and has been accused of infanticide. Vijay Tendulkar’s aim was to bring to light the hypocrisy of the patriarchal society and since this hypocrisy still exists even today, Shantata! makes for an interesting watch.
2. Krishnan’s Dairy: Krishnan’s Dairy is written by playwrights Justin Lewis and Jacob Ranjan and follows the life of a Malayali immigrant, Krishnan and his wife Zeena, and their dairy in New Zealand. Both the characters are played by Jacob Ranjan himself who expertly transitions from Krishnan to Zeena by not just putting on a woman’s mask but also modulating his voice and behavior. The solo production keeps the audience engaged with humor and thrills despite having limited stage space.
3. Nirbhaya: This play was directed by Yael Farber was produced after the Delhi-gang rape case of 2012 that had left the world reeling and shocked about the sorry state of women’s safety rules in India. The play is special because of its seven-play cast. Many of these cast members have been victims of sexual abuse themselves at some point or the other. They integrate their own ordeal in the play to drive home some hard-hitting truths.