A one of its kind book tracing 150 years of Marathi theatre will be released on Thursday in Mumbai.
Written by Makrand Sathe, ‘Marathi Rangabhoomichya Tees Ratri’ (Thirty Nights of Marathi Theatre), is a three-volume set published by city-based Popular Publications. The book was released in Pune on Monday. “It was a personal quest to know the rich history of theatre and its socio-political context,” said Sathe, a Pune- based writer, who has written acclaimed plays such as Surya Pahilela Maanus (Man Who Saw The Sun) based on the life of philosopher Socrates.
It is the narration that sets the book apart from other works. Each of the 30 chapters is an imaginary dialogue between a court jester, a character present in all major theatre traditions of the world, and a young playwright sitting on a hill in Pune. The jester explains the history of Marathi theatre over 30 nights.
Renowned painter Sudhir Patwardhan designed the three volume covers and also sketched for each of the 30 chapters.
The three volumes have been divided chronologically – from 1843-1955 focusing on pre-independence theatre, from 1955-1975, the post-independence period and the last volume from 1975 till 2010 tracing the latest developments in Marathi theatre.
The book started two years ago as a research project funded by the India Foundation for the Arts in Bangalore.
“We do not have a comprehensive document in Marathi on Marathi theatre,” said Asmita Mohite, editor at Popular Publications. “In fact we had tried to commission such a project earlier but never found anyone who was an academic as well as close to the theatre movement.” The author also plans to translate the book in English.