New issue of Indian Theatre Journal 1.2 – out now!

Intellect is delighted to announce that the new issue of Indian Theatre Journal is now available.


Articles within this issue include (partial list):


Ruptures in reformation: Embodiment revealed

Authors: Mark James Hamilton

Page Start: 123


This article reflects on the author’s practice of three South Indian disciplines (Bharatanatyam, astanga yoga and kalaripayattu). Their distinct methodologies modulate the rhythm, direction and force of the doer’s actions to evolve particular virtuosities. This article, however, focuses on moments of rupture during the author’s intercultural hybridization. It examines these incidents of trauma as moments revealing the friction generated when hereditary and localized pedagogies meet the contemporary mobilities afforded by immigration, emigration and international travel. These incidents also suddenly expose the subtle and gradual processes of radical human reformation secreted in these powerful pedagogies. Jo Riley, in her study of Chinese theatre, describes training as an emptying and dissection of the performer’s body to be replaced by a ‘role’ body. This ‘opening’ process is called kaiguang, which means ‘opening to let the light shine out’. This article proposes that ruptures in processes of embodiment can strand the practitioner betwixt the primed pre-expressive self (or Eugenio Barba’s ‘fictive body’) and Riley’s role body (extended here to consider the performer’s social as well as dramatic function).


Tasteful screams: Sense, nonsense and Kathakali vocal performance

Authors: Seth Powers

Page Start: 135


In Kathakali performance, the speech of characters and the narrative are conveyed through multiple channels – verbal text is sung by onstage vocalists while the dancer interprets the story through hand gestures, body movements and facial expressions. Through engagement with the work of Gilles Deleuze and analysis of the play The Dumb Dancer by Asif Currimbhoy, the co-presence of vocal sense and nonsense on the Kathakali stage is investigated as a phenomenon by turns sensationalized and de-legitimized in a postcolonial context. Sneja Gunew’s project of decolonizing affect theory, which raises the question of how to think meaningfully about affect beyond European concepts and terms, is taken up with regard to rasa theory, a key element of the performance aesthetics of Kathakali. Rather than viewing rasa as merely a prefiguration of Deleuzean (or post-Deleuzean) sensation or autonomic affect, a comparison between rasa and Deleuzean sense, defined as the evanescent boundary between propositions and things, is offered. Deleuzean sense presents an intriguing, albeit partial, analogue to rasa, a term that encompasses the process of tasting along with the essentially immanent nature of that which is tasted.


Animating the intercultural: Revisiting Peter Brook’s practice and the somatics of performance

Authors: Ralph Yarrow

Page Start: 147


The author’s aim in this article is to frame Brook more clearly against historical parameters that affected the understanding and practice of theatre from the 1960s and to reassess to what extent his multiculturalism looks different from a twenty-first-century perspective. Brook’s work up to and beyond The Mahabharata occurs in the context of post-1960 developments and attitudes to science, spirituality, aesthetics and society. During the same period, there are major developments in stage languages and embodied practices. These dimensions manifest pragmatically as a specific set of adaptations of what performers do, of the nature of the relationship between performers and receivers, and of the understanding of the nature and function of theatre and performance. The article looks at Brook’s focus on the reception of his work and on what he conceived as the role of theatre in providing ‘extended’ experience; and at aspects of the practice of Brook and Barba with actors, which work around reduction and interruption and aim to put them in contact with the initial phases of production. It suggests that this work specifically targets the zone ‘beyond’ acculturation and habitus, verbal and physical. The article also revisits concerns, largely articulated by Rustom Bharucha, about the sociopolitical and economic parameters of Brook’s work in India.

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