Theatre in the Nepali language exists outside Nepal. The Kirata period of pre-recorded Nepali history produced the Mundhttm, the Veda of the Tibeto-Burman Kiratas. This contains dramatic elements but makes no reference to plays or an actual stage. Some scholars, however, believe that the Harisiddhi play, still traditionally performed, had its inception during this time. The Lichchhavi period during third-ninth centuries was notable for Sanskrit theatre produced in the mandapikas or pavilions adjacent to temples. Record has it that a Ramayana play of those days was immensely popular for years.
The Malla period during thirteenth to eighteenth centuries witnessed significant development in Nepali stagecraft. Performances came out of temple precincts into open public places on dabalis, or raised stone platforms. Invariably they were in the form of musical and dance dramas. Malla plays were mostly written in the Newari and Maithili languages. Kati Pyakham, Kartik ritual drama, ran for the whole month of Kartik i.e. October-November month. This came into vogue. The modern proscenium stage made its appearance in the Shah period in 1767 onwards followed by the Rana period in 1846 onwards, which abounded in entertaining Urdu and Hindi theatre.
However, dabali performances continued to be popular and creative. The Jyapu Natak of peasant Jyapus, in the Tibeto-Burman language of Newari, evolved as a widely acclaimed genre. Dhintamai was yet another celebrated variant of Jyapu popular theatre. Attempts have been made to present modern Nepali plays in the traditional folk Jyapu styles. Sanskrit plays were translated into Nepali ever since Shaktivallabh Aryal version of Hasyakadamba, Comic kadamba Tree, in 1798. But a play written wholly in Nepali was first staged in Darjeeling, north Bengal, in 1909 by Dhanbir Mukhia and his Gorkha National Theatrical Party. This was Pahalman Singh Swar, Atalbahadur which was published from Varanasi in 1906. Worthy followers were the Himalayan and Children Amusement Association. This was a club known for Bhaiya Singh Gazmer, talent and the Gorkha Dukha Niwarak Sammelan, a social organization. Balkrishna Sama wrote the first modern Nepali play. This was the social tragedy Mutuko byatha, Heart Pangs, in 1926. Balkrishna Sama was a consistently successful dramatist, he penned as many as eighteen full-length and fourteen one-act plays. Prahlad in 1929 is regarded as his masterpiece. A verse allegory, it reflects Gandhian principles and predicts Hitlerian methods. Gopalprasad Rimal and the Malla brothers, Govind and Vijay, ushered in realism, both social and psychological.
They were contemporary Nepali dramatists, specially the front ranking, who transcended matter-of-fact realism. Their plays concretize thoughts and awareness in suitably new forms to embody die contents. The world has to undertake driven by the compulsive desire to reach a land of affluence and pleasure.
Nepal, a country endowed with enormous cultural and ethnic diversities, has witnessed resurgence in its theatre in the recent years. Mostly people experience theatre as a tool for development awareness campaigns and don’t use it for creating their own theatrical expression. In this context, there is a big need to strengthen the local artists in finding their own artistic language to maintain their cultural integrity through theatre and spreading different approaches to theatre all over Nepal.
Monday, 08 January 2018
Wednesday, 01 November 2017
- Tuesday, 04 July 2017 Vacancy: Project Coordinator for 'Play Making Workshop'
- Tuesday, 04 July 2017 Vacancy: Design and Documentation Officer for 'Play Making Workshop'