The student will be introduced to the tradition of Indian drama and some of he salient features in this genre. We shall also look at the breaks and continuities that modern drama introduces. Furthermore, we shall also analyses drama’s role in raising issues and disseminating ideas. The student will also be given a brief biography of the playwright. The first lesson plan also provides a detailed list of characters and a discussion of the First Act Dear Students, This study material is designed to provide you with an introduction and discussion around the critical issues in Visa Tenderness’s “Silence!
The Court Is In Session! ” As you are aware this play has been prescribed in The English Discipline Course for the students of BAA Programmer Lyre.
While discussions on the play are important, it is even more important that prior to reading this study material, you do a thorough reading of the play. Do not feel intimidated by the suggestion.
If you do have a small group of friends who are part of the course, you may even undertake a group reading, where each one of you can read out the part of individual characters.
It would be better still, if you could emote the part allotted to you, instead of merely reading it. This will engage your complete attention and enable you to come o grips with the action of the play. After all, you must remember that when Denatured wrote this play, he was not thinking about its being prescribed for undergraduate students at a university college.
He wanted a living, thinking, and feeling audience to engage with issues that he felt very strongly about. He wanted his audience to go home thinking deeply about the questions that his play brings to the fore.
Background Detail Pertaining To The Play The play “Silence ! The Court Is In Session” is an English translation of a play written in marathon in the year 1967 by Visa Denatured. The title of this play in Marathon is “Shanty! Court Chalk Ah! ” Where did the germ of an idea that inspired Denatured to write this play come from? The play is based on a short story by Frederica D;rearmament(1921 -1990). The short story “Die Panel’ written in 1956 is available in an English translation titled “Traps. ” Tournament was a Swiss author and playwright whose work reflected the experiences of World War II.
This detail allows us to see how powerful the impact Of creative writing is. It also documents for us the fact that human beings are easily influenced by ideas and that these ideas can have their origins in any eclectic source. Suddenly the commonalities of language make us register the common bonds that link us with people around the world. Where ever a writer is located, the fact that he is speaking about human experiences always enables others to connect to the shared universality of 3 human experience.
See if you can locate Frederica Tournament’s story. It mightiest be fun to track down this story and see how a reading enlarges your own understanding of Tenderness’s play. Tenderness’s “Silence ! The Court Is In Session” belongs to the genre Of drama. Tenderness’s play, “SSHneat! Court ChiLU Ah” (“Silence! The Court Is In Session”) was first staged in 1967 and is acknowledged to be one of his mature works. A movie was made on this play in 1971 by Stay Deep Dubbed for which Denatured wrote the screenplay.
It might be a good idea for those of you who are interested in the genre of film to look for a video of this production, Those of you who are interested in theatre could check at the National School of Drama, near Mankind House, New Delhi. They might have a recording of the play, which has a rich stage history, in their archives. We have now looked at two significant aspects of the play. First, we know that Visa Denatured was inspired by a short story, written in German by a Swiss writer which was translated in English. We also know that he wrote the play in Marathon.
Yet another significant dimension of the play is that it is located in an Indian context. The play draws upon an older Indian tradition of drama at the same time, it is located in the India of the 1 9505 and does to some extent document the lives, mores and perspectives of people in this period. Necessarily, the play therefore draws upon situations that would be typical of the lives of men and women in the newly independent Indian state, undergoing rapid changes as it sought to assimilate modern ideas and incorporate these while trying to break free of the stranglehold of older constricting patterns and thought processes.
Notions Of Genre This brings me to yet another important aspect that you need to consider. The course in literature that you are studying deals with a large range consists of forms. These are also described as genres. Poetry, prose, short story, epic, fiction and drama are some of the popular genres in which writers have expressed themselves through the ages. What are the various genres you are milliamp with? Is there any genre that appeals to you more than the others? Did you know that if we were to look at the history of literature in any period, we would find that at any given time some genres have always been more popular than the others?
One of the good things about being readers and students of literature in English in the Twenty-First Century is that we are introduced to a very large repertoire of genres and authors You could explore the distinguishing features in the different genres that you are studying. The epic quite often uses poetic meters. So do a lot of plays. In act, a later play by Denatured, Grammas Zonal (1972) made dramatic history by its use of older and more popular folk traditions of dance and music. Even “Silence!
The Court Is In Session introduces nursery rhymes and poems, through its characters. So you see while terms like poetry and prose are general indicators, a work of literature can quite often successfully use both poetry and prose , such as the Inhabitant, which often intersperses poetic and prosaic forms. A drama thus is shaped not only by the thinking of the playwright, it also draws from the long history, social and cultural of the place t is located in. Let us then look quickly at some of the aspects of drama, both in the context of India and the world.
As you are probably aware ours is an old civilization with a a rich and diverse tradition of 4 drama and spectacle and we have a fairly old tradition of ancient Sanskrit drama. Eventually Sanskrit drama was slowly replaced by drama in regional languages and when we move closer to recent drama in modern times, we find drama in regional languages being translated into English, which is one of the newest languages on the Indian subcontinent. Older History Of Drama Sanskrit drama which can be traced to the ancient vided times is first recorded in the form of exchanges between some of the gods who feature in the Received.
These were succeeded by a large number Of Sanskrit dramatists such as Salinas, Banality, Shudders, Savages, to name a few. In Sanskrit drama, especially in the plays of Salinas, the male protagonists spoke in Sanskrit. Usually, the women and other minor characters spoke in pail, Prairie or pastrami. This was a very evolved and sophisticated form of dramaturgy and boasts of a manual for both playwrights and actors which details at great length every aspect concerned with the production and staging of a play.
Exhaustive guidelines are provided in the Intrastate, a remarkable treatise on the art, craft, aesthetics and dynamics of play production. The primary aim of Sanskrit drama was to produce harmony and provide pleasure. So dramatists kept acts of violence and death away from the stage. Most plays subjected the central characters to great trial and suffering, at the end of which they emerged stronger and usually concluded on a happy note. The subject matter was borrowed from the older stories and youths and centered around important figures of royal birth, who in turn are often visited by the gods, demons and other semi-divine beings.
Kielbasa’s well known play Abashing Smalltalk, is the story of the birth of one of Behaviorist’s kings “Barbara. This is a story that traces the lineage of the Purr dynasty, while exploring the love of King Thousandths for the daughter of an Pappas who lived with her foster father Kanata, in a hermitage. The earliest version of this story fleshed out in the form of a play by Salinas can be found in the epic, the Inhabitant Do read, Abashing Smalltalk if you can. This will allow you to analyses more acutely the difference in the modern Indian play and its shift from the traditional Sanskrit play.
Abashing Smalltalk is available in translation and provides an important link in the history of translation. This play was discovered by anthologists in the 18th century and translated into English, German and French and was viewed with great wonder in different parts of Europe. It was also translated into Indian languages. In fact, the earliest play written in Marathon for the stage was an adaptation of Abashing Smalltalk in 1880. You may be curious to know whether there were any other influences apart from the tradition of drama in Sanskrit that shaped contemporary Indian drama.
The answer to this is in the affirmative. While Sanskrit classical drama did influence theatrical representation in different parts of India, there was also the incorporation of and emergence of very rich local traditions of cultural expression. These contributed their own flavor and color to the development of new traditions in regional drama. So while Sanskrit is the primary language from which most of our modern Indian languages evolved, nee must also recognize the impetus regional theatre received from alternate traditions in each region of India.
Regional Influences When we look at theatre traditions in Bengal, Kraal, Tamil Nadia or Maharajah’s, for instance, we observe the rich influx of local practice that exists in each Of these regions. The popular folk 5 tradition leading to the development of Marathon theatre was the Tamales. This was a form of theatre which came into existence in the early sixteenth century in Maharajah’s. Tamales was a folk tradition of theatricals and love songs called Lavish popular among the common people especially those room the Goliath and maharaja communities.
One of the significant facts to remember about the Tamales is that it adapted into its practice of song, dance and story, a host of narratives from the Sanskrit tradition, namely the pursuant, the dastards and the Krishna least. The Tamales could be performed any. Veer, in an open courtyard, in a large open stretch of land or even in front of a house. Thus, as you can see it was not constrained by the absence of a proper or regular stage. The Tamales was perhaps one of the earliest community cultural activities in which women danced and sang before an audience.
The classical and folk traditions of theatre were then followed by what we could broadly term the modern period in Indian Theatre. In the instance of Maharajah’s, we can see the eighteenth century as the period from which we can trace the beginnings of modern Marathon theatre. Modern Marathon theatre is indebted to the contributions of Vishnu Ads Behaves adaptations of older Sanskrit narratives like Sits Samovar, in Marathon. His contribution was to present the dialogues in the form of ordinary, everyday conversations. He also used innovations like changeable scenery which he borrowed from the Western stage.
Another important personage associated with modern Marathon theatre was Anna Saves Karaoke. The foundation of commercial repertoires in Marathon theatre can be dated to the time of his founding of the Karaoke Natty Mandela in 1880. Modern Influences Meanwhile a lot of English theatre also traveled to India. The early twentieth century saw a lot of English plays being staged in different parts of India. Indian theatre in the twentieth century owes a great deal to ideas and influences from across the continent, from both Europe and America.
Both in the First and the Second World, idealistic men and women struggled to put cross on paper their concerns about the rights and desires of a burgeoning population. The Twentieth Century is about the spread of notions of democracy all over the world and its implementation in political governments as well. With the exception of small pockets in the world, most countries moved in the direction of governments by the people, of the people and for the people. This did not of course mean that an equal or equitable world was immediately achieved.
Yet, this was a major step in that direction and several playwrights the world over began to engage with the lives of the ordinary people. Most of the characters in Modern Drama are from a new class that grew to its optimum in the twentieth century, namely the middle class. In India we also struggled in the formative years of the twentieth century with colonialism, and our own struggles for independence from British Rule. Alongside, a strong sense of our identity as Indians we also tried to negotiate the difficulties imposed by rigid caste structures and ossified gender roles and expectations.
To add to this were long standing religious convictions that had again entrenched themselves in cultural practice. As a country whose people went out into the streets to fight for their right to freedom, citizenship, governance and independence, we also adopted several new ideas. Our constitution which we adopted in 1 950 speaks about these ideas and defines them as fundamental rights which accrue to every man and women, independent of his social class, and gender. We need now to see what our inspired playwrights made of these new ideas and influences. Visa Denatured: A Life You may not be aware that Denatured is one of the pioneering writers of plays for the proscenium theatre in India. Other prominent writers who wrote plays round this time are Garish Carnal and Moan Rakes. Denatured is also one of our prominent modern playwrights, reflecting and exploring the journeys of individuals through the Indian cultural milieu. As Urinated Bannered points out, “he has been in the vanguard of not just Marathon but Indian theatre for the past forty years. Visa Denatured was born in Kohlrabi , Maharajah’s in 1928 . He was from a Sarasota Brahmins family and his father worked as a clerk and also ran a publishing business. Kohlrabi in the 1 adds had its own Maharaja Shahs l. The world Denatured grew up in was in pre-independent India and as a young boy he was naturally attracted to the world of words and writing. He displayed a prolific interest in the same, writing his first play at the age of eleven. So he came of age in an India that was on the threshold of great changes.
Denatured was witness to the fact that older feudal and traditional structures and familiar ways of life were being disrupted and changed by the new ideas of social ferment and political change in the air. Denatured was an impressionable young teenager when the Quit India Movement was in full force. Despite the reservations of his family, he joined the movement. Along with his interest in a world of ideas, Denatured was deeply absorbed in the everyday world around him. His first job was that of a journalist with a Marathon weekly that was published from Pun(then Pomona).
He worked as a journalist for a great number of years, and eventually shifted to Iambi (then Bombay), as the Chief Sub-editor of a Marathon Daily Subsequently he worked as a freelance writer and he was a regular columnist for The Maharajah’s Times. The year 1948 saw him as the editor of Navigate. Alongside regular journalistic activity, Denatured also found outlets to his creative writing through short stories. Discovering that his narratives contained a surfeit of dialogues, he experimented with writing one act plays.
This lead eventually to his writing full fledged plays. He continued to live in Iambi for the rest Of his life. As you already know, Denatured began his career writing for newspapers. He had also written two plays, “?muchvary Kong Prep Karar” (Who will Love us? ), and the “Graduates” (The Householder). His early attempts at playwriting did not receive much appreciation and he decided never to write again. Something like this happened to an aspiring playwright in the Nineteenth Century in England, Robert Browning.
He moved from writing plays to writing poems, and popularized the dramatic monologue through his poetry. Denatured however continued writing plays in spite of the plays not being received favorably. In 1956 he wrote “Chairman,” which was to establish him as a significant playwright. This play also saw the arrival of Denatured, the playwright who was ready to explore unconventional themes and look closely at the many changes that were taking place in the society around him. “Chairman” startled the conservative audience of the times.
It has a rather radical storyline; an married young woman decides to keep her unborn child while her rich father tries to “buy” her a husband in an attempt to save his social prestige. In “Chairman” Denatured plunges deep into the heart of middle class morality, challenging social codes and questioning taboos. This questioning remains of central importance in all of his plays. In a writing career spanning more than five decades, Denatured has written 30 full length plays and 23 one-act plays. Several of his plays have gone on to become classics of the Marathon theatre as well as modern Indian Theatre.
His plays have been translated and performed in many Indian languages. Gresham Kowtow (Gresham the Constable) (1972), a musical combining Marathon 7 folk performance styles and contemporary theatrical techniques, is one of the longest-running plays in the world, with over six thousand performances in India and abroad, in the original and in translation. Denatured has a prolific output of writing to his credit and it is not possible to discuss each and every one of his plays keeping in mind the limitations of this study material.
It would be a good idea for you to read some of Tenderness’s plays in order to familiarize yourself with his writing. Shanty as you all know is a play in Three Acts. Like Chairman, the protagonist of this play deals with an unconventional woman. Her experience places her in a vulnerable position in a rigid society that runs on hidebound codes. The young woman and the choices she makes are seen as threatening the very edifice of the society she lives in. Her existence therefore becomes problematic and she is perforce silenced in the course of the play.
World Of The Play Silence! The Court Is In Session is a play in three acts dealing with the lives of ordinary people in a small town. Coming from diverse backgrounds, around ten characters are engaged in a group activity. They are members of “The Sonar Motif Tenement (Bombay) progressive Association (ESMTP). This is a socially committed group whose prime objective is to facilitate awareness around important issues affecting the community or the world. These are raised for discussion by the various members of the group who enact a court- room scenario.
Denatured borrows from court proceedings in order to stage a mock-trial. For this particular evening, the group is meeting to perform a mock trial protesting against President Johnny’s production of atomic weapons. The idea of a mock trial in order to engage the audience is a reliant strategy adopted by Denatured. In doing so, he borrows from an important institution made available for the resolution of civilian problems in the modern world, namely, the world of the law courts wherein the highest secular principles of the law are enshrined.
The officials of the court are meant to uphold the rights of the individual and they legislate accordingly, keeping in view larger principles, duties and responsibilities. Courts and the justice they deliver are perforce meant to be free of prejudice and bias. We need to examine whether such objective evaluation and bias free justice is dad available in the course of the play. Denatured uses the possibilities of an open discussion forum which the court provides in order to introduce to us a motley group of characters who are thrown together and perforce create a small social community when they decide to stage a mock trial.
Social work ostensibly is the glue that binds the different characters together. As you now know the play is divided into three Acts. Read each Act carefully? What do you think are the salient features of each of the three acts? Is there any distinct difference that you could notice between one act and the succeeding act? As you know all three acts take place in the same hall. In the first act, the play swings into action in an empty hall presumably used for a lot of public functions in the village such as speeches, receptions, weddings, women’s afghans and magic shows.
We are introduced to all the characters in the play in the first act itself as all the members of the ESMTP begin to assemble for rehearsals. 8 List Of Characters In Order Of Appearance: Aragua Samoan: Appears on the stage holding a green cloth parrot. Is a young man, who earns “enough to keep body and soul together,” in his own words. He lives With his brother and sister-in -law, is unmarried and dotes on his nephew. He is a mild-mannered and friendly young man. Runs chores for the group and is asked to act as the fourth witness. 2.
Ella Banner: is a school teacher of eight years standing. She comes across as a vivacious and unconventional woman. She seems to have a mind of her own and is very forthright. She has a sense of fun. She is also able to laugh at the foibles and eccentricities of the various members in the group. 3. Saturate: Arrives on stage along with the rest of the characters. He is introduced as a lawyer in the stage directions. He comes in smoking a ebbed. 4. Servant: Possibly a porter hired from the station, he is one of the general factotum which arrives on stage.
He carries “two wooden enclosures, the dock and the witness box, puts these down on the left side of the wings, returns to face Pones, is paid money for his services and leaves the stage. 5. Ball Rocked: As a young boy he was given shelter by the Karakas, who fed, clothed and educated him while he ran errands and performed odd jobs for them. He accompanies them and takes orders from them. 6. Pones: Is introduced as the Science student. Ella Banner tells us that he as failed his intermediate examinations, these are examinations that would have allowed him to join the university.
Pones smokes a pipe, has taken his inter exams for the second time and works as a clerk at the Central Telegraph office. 7. Mrs.. Shakier: Banner introduces her as “The-hand-that-rocks -the-cradle. ” Yet, Mrs. Shakier, although she is given this epithet has no children of her own. Her role, it is suggested at the outset is one of providing nurture and secondary support as a housewife. The use of a married title “Mrs.. And her husbands surname are the only way in which she is represented throughout he play. This perhaps is her only public identity.
She is known as the wife of Mr.. Shakier. It is her husband who calls all the shots and is shown as very rude to her, putting her down and cutting her short on every occasion. The taking on Of a marriage usually involves a change Of the surname for a woman. The man retains his own name. This is accepted as conventional practice all over the world. There are feminists who have voiced their apprehensions about how this change of surname indicates the subservient status that a woman occupies in contrast to her husband, including a gradual erosion of female identity and selfless.
Today a small percentage of women do use their own surnames. 8. Mr.. Shakier: The dominant spouse, he has indulged his wife by stopping on the way to the hall and buying her flowers to put in her hair. He is referred to as the chairman of the group by Banner and sees himself as a man of superior intelligence. He is shown to have 9 a great sense of self-importance and sees himself as undertaking any and every action only with Prime objectives in view. 9. Local Resident 10. Sarnia is an experimental theatre actor, shown as habituated to chewing pan
As you will notice, there are minor characters and there are major characters even in a play like Shanty which does not have a conventional romantic storyline. For instance, in Abashing Smalltalk, the narrative begins with the king out on a hunt. In the process he strays into a hermitage and encounters with a beautiful young woman to whom he is attracted. Over Seven Acts, Salinas traces the moods Of love, longing, parting, separation, misunderstanding and eventual reunion over a period of a few years. In Shanty, the action of the play takes place over a single evening. There are young men and a young woman in this play.
However the play is not an exploration of romantic love that blossoms into commitment and adult responsibility. We see instead a cross section of people from the middle-class who have assembled together for staging a mock-trial on issues that concern them. These different people may never have met each other were it not for the Sonar Motif Tenement. With the exception of the Karakas who are husband and wife and Ball Rocked, who has been raised by them, the rest of the characters connect with each other through dealings in a very public world. Each member of the group is different from the other in terms of age,