Sometimes, we have a strange idea of the 'experimental' -- anything that is serious, amateur, and outside of the commercial framework gets called 'experimental'. But what does 'experiment' mean in theatre? Can we begin to identify markers or landmarks in our theatre which we can genuinely call 'experimental'? Is such an enterprise possible, or even desirable? Do we need laboratories for theatre? What has been the experience of the laboratories that were set up? When does an experiment fructify enough to be shared with an audience? Should experiments be at all shared with an audience? What is a performer's perspective? Does s/he look at her/his work in terms of experimentation? How do new forms come into being? What is, or should be, the role of technology in all this? Do we have too little technology in our theatre -- or too much? What can training institutions do in this area? What should funding agencies do? What kinds of experiments is it useful to support? What is the current state of experimental theatre? Does such a creature really exist?
Some of these questions were contemplated in S. Ramanujan's and Sadanand Menon's presentations. For more, see http://theatreforum.in/itf/meeting/1/
(Look under Talks / Experiments to read responses to these presentations.) Ekbal Ahmed and Amitesh Grover responded to these presentations.
Organised 50 years after the original Drama Seminar in 1957, the Not the Drama Seminar (NTDS) brought together theatre practitioners from all across the country to convene at Ninasam, Heggodu in March 2008. This seminar meditated on the nature of theatre in India today, on how we got to where we are. The attempt was to understand 'Indian Theatre' in all its multiplicity and diversity, bringing these several faces of Indian theatre face to face, and problemetize the issues that arise therein. These ideas were exchanged through a series of presentations and discussions over five days, and each day ended with a performance.