Thursday, 6 April 2017

Importance of Street Plays – Spreading Awareness on Social Issues

There is no need of well-adorned stage for real-life stories to depict
Street play is one of the most popular and widespread forms of drama. It can also be called as "dance-drama" as it is performed with the help of music and dance also. It has evolved as a transforming genre in the realm of drama throughout the colonial period, and today, it has received a significant status in the society as a whole. This genre of drama is known for its simple and creative way of execution. The term itself reflects the meaning, i.e. a play which is performed in the streets, or outside under open sky.

This is also a metaphor as it is open for everyone, for every layman. It is not an easy task to perform in front of widely spread audiences, who do not belong to any particular group or section of the society. Street plays are best known for their catchy dialogues, attracting slogans, and powerful dramatic elements like, tragedy, humor, mimicry etc., which are carried out along with music and dance. In the 21st century, this theatrical genre has evolved as a powerful medium for transforming the society.

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Youth has the primary role to play in this genre. The primary objective of performing street play is to create a sense of awareness in the society we live in. Various significant issues related directly or indirectly to the society, are intended to be depicted through the medium of street play. Some of these issues include cleanliness, hygiene, HIV/ AIDS, prevention of epidemics, child labor, child marriage, corruption, educational awareness among rural children, child rights, road safety, etc. Actors create an intense atmosphere and their aim is to share their message with the common public. This is the reason why they take up public issues as their theme for the play. This is a colloquial form of drama, which gathers people within no time. Use of musical instrument is a powerful device to draw the attention of the common people. It can be said that they are of the people, for the people and by the people.

This form of drama unites people from different sections, or classes of the society thereby break the conventions of other forms of theater. It is an effective medium for social reform, and it ignites the minds of the general audience. Audiences do not feel as reserved spectators like those inside theaters and auditoriums. They are both subject and object for that time. However, for a successful street play, there are many crucial points which should be taken into account. The most important are the use of catchy, emotional phrases as dialogues.

Actors must have the skill to exhibit and depict the theme well. A proper coordination is highly needed. Dialogues should not be monotonous and it is important to make the audience feel the gravity of the concerned issue. Most of the time actors wear uniform dresses, and it shows the uniformity of behavior, mindset, and outlook of the people. By avoiding the use of costumes which are used in theaters, actors aimed to show that they belong to the same society where the audiences also reside. As a result of such tricky yet simple techniques, spectators are made compelled to delve into the live characters. Generally, duration of street plays are less, and due to this reason, actors and performers must possess effective and captivating natural acting skill. Each person tries to recall and re-utters the dialogues at a high pitch so that it leaves a deep impact in the minds of the people.

The primary goal of street play performance is to create a healthy and positive atmosphere in the society.

When long duration drama and highly dramatized plays fail to convey proper meaning to its spectators many times, street plays are much more successful and effective in doing the same task. Therefore, street plays have become a widely known and popular genre in the world of theaters, especially, among the youths. It is one of the most vital tools especially for the youths to tackle with social and political issues in a large democratic country like India by grasping the right to freedom of speech.

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Written by Dhiraj Medhi
A Masters student in Linguistics and Endangered Languages, Dhiraj is fond of writing, singing and playing instruments. He wishes to create a positive atmosphere in the society through this writings and music.

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