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Understanding the thought behind plays that voice their dissent

with Sunil Shanbag

Dissent is critical for the health of civil society. A mature society can handle dissent more maturely.

- Sunil Shanbag

Sunil Shanbag

Sunil Shanbag is an Indian theatre director, screenwriter and documentary film-maker. He worked as an actor/designer/ assistant director with Satyadev Dubey from 1974 to 1984 on about twenty-five productions. In 1985, he along with his group of friends became one of the founding members and artistic director of ARPANA, a repertory company. This theatre company has been working consistently since its inception, doing an average of fifty performances a year. Its work is characterised by “contemporary and original texts by Indian and international playwrights (in translation), strong performances, minimalist staging, and innovative use of music and design.

Gyan session

1. How do we define dissent in these times? Why do plays from the times of the Greeks and even Bhasa attract the most number of dissenters?

2. You have directed plays by Vijay Tendulkar to Mahesh Elkunchwar. And Shafaat Khan to Ramu Ramanathan. What could be the reasons these playwright try to voice controversial topics?

3. Is experimenting with controversial topics for plays reduced? If yes, why and how has it effected society? If no, then how has it survived?

4. You are collaborating with young minds at your theatre space Tamasha. What is the role of such a space in our society?

5. How do you select a play to direct? Was the process different in the seventies and eighties when you worked alongside Satyadev Dubey; to the now? Where you are seen as a thought leader.