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Act Zero Point One
The Oxford Companion To Indian Theatre
By Edited By Ananda Lal
Rs 2,500; Pages: 584
For an area so alive, there has been little documentation on the growth or decline of Indian theatre over the decades. The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre
fulfils that dire need in that it provides useful information on Indian theatre personalities and the theatre movement at various levels and time. But since these are notes written by various people at different times, the lack of method or format can be quite jarring for the reader. The information itself too could do with some serious updating. Indian theatre is composite in terms of its style and uses—music, singing and dancing along with the dramatic elements of prose or poetry. As such, the Oxford Companion falls far short of being comprehensive. Unforgivably, it also omits information on many veterans who have contributed to the growth of Indian theatre.
But considering there’s nothing at all recording the presence and growth of Indian theatre, this is certainly a welcome introduction. The drama might be missing, but there is plenty to keep one riveted. At least, the stage lights have come on.