Over the past five decades, Girish Karnad has been recognized nationally and internationally as one of the pre-eminent playwrights in contemporary India. Born in 1938, he belongs to the generation of writers who came to maturity shortly after independence and collectively reshaped Indian theatre as a national institution in the later twentieth as a national institution in the later twentieth century. This edition of Karnad's Collected Plays, published in two volumes, brings together English versions of all his important plays by the playwright himself for audiences around the world.
The four plays featured here have been performed in every major Indian language, as well as in English, Sinhala, German, Spanish, Polish, and Hungarian, in cities ranging from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Kolkata to London, Colombo, Weimar, and Chicago. Published together for the first time, these texts display Karnad's unique ability to use ancient myth, pre-modern history, and folklore as resonant parallels for modern experience, both private and public.
Both volumes contain substantial new introductions by Aparna Dharwadker, Associate Professor of Theatre and English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to tracing the play's literary and theatrical evolution, the introductions comment on Karnad's place in a multilingual performance culture, the relation of his playwriting to his work in the popular media, and his larger-than-life presence as an engaged intellectual in the Indian public sphere.
This volume is a collector's item, which makes the works of Girish Karnad accessible to a wider readership among theatre lovers across the world.
About the Author:
Girish Karnad was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. He has served as Director of the Film and Television Institute of India, Chairman of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (the National Academy of the performing Arts) and Director of the Nehru Centre, London (the cultural wing of the High Commission of India). He was Visiting Professor and Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Chicago. He has been elected Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and has received the Sahitya Akademi award as well as the Jnanpith, India's highest distinctions for lifetime contribution to literature and the arts. He has been decorated with the Padma Bhushan. His career as a dramatist has been paralleled by an equally celebrated career as actor, screenwriter and director of film and television, through which he played a pivotal role in the Indian Parallel Cinema movement from the 1970s to 1990s.
Excerpts from Review:
'You have probably not seen anything quite like it. Drawing on a myth to ask questions about religious tolerance and violence, it is both alien and completely accessible... Tragedy and comedy, the universal and the deeply personal, spark off each other...[Bali is] enjoyable [and] thought-provoking.'
---Lynn Gardner, The Guardian
'The blending of [the various] narratives into an integrated theatrical unit shows the hand of a master craftsman. Naga-Mandala is a technical triumph.'
'Karnad is a brilliant playwright who can sweep you along with his words and his imagination. [Bali] is the kind [of play] that thrives on layers of subtleties that make you want to sit down and sort out the zillions of thoughts it stirs up...A powerful play that stay [s] with you long after you have finished the last line.'
'...playwright, poet, actor, director, critic, translator and cultural administrator all rolled into one...Karnad is a renaissance man. Karnad's celebrity is based one decades of prolific and consistent output...'
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