City Plays

(Party, Avinash, and Lights Out)

Mahesh Elkunchwar, Manjula Padmanabhan, Shanta Gokhale


5.5 x 8.5 inches, xii + 190pp. 2004

ISBN : 9788170462309

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Three plays in the naturalistic mode, set within the four walls of a city apartment, throwing people into close contact, relationships unravelling tinder pressure, the moment of crisis in each case precipitated by an absent presence, who is never seen on stage. Intense human dramas, each one, reflecting the claustrophobic lives of their urban characters.


In Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Party, translated by Ashish Rajadhyaksha, members of the ‘creative’ set are depicted with their pretensions, rivalries and frustrations, in the social milieu of a party. Even as they laugh and drink tey are stalked like a guilty conscience by the absence of Amrit, the only one of them who chose to commit to a political cause anfd join the marginalized tribals to fight for their rights.


Avinash, written and translated by leading theatre scholar and critic, Shanta Gokhale, is an intense family drama in which the tensions between various members of a middle-class family escalate to a tragic climax. Avinash, a depressive alcoholic, invisible throughout, is yet the central presence in the drama. His mysterious death triggers off harsh inter-personal conflicts in the rest of the family.


In Lights Out by Manjula Padmanabhan, whose plays in English have received much attention, the daily mystery of heart-rending screams from a woman who is never seen but is in obvious pain, destroys the fabric of domesticity of a middle-class couple, divided in their response to her anguish. 

Shanta Gokhale is a leading theatre critic and writer, and this book is based on years of research and an indepth knowledge of the theatre world she writes about.

Manjula Padmanabhanis a playwright, writer, illustrator and cartoonist living in New Delhi. She has been widely published. Her play Harvest was awarded the Onassis International Cultural Competition Prize for Theatrical Plays in 1997.

Mahesh Elkunchwar is a veteran Marathi playwright, whose plays have been performed in various Indian languages. He has received several prestigious national awards and fellowships including the Homi Bhaba Fellowship (1976-78), the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1989), the Sahitya Akademi Award (2002) and the Saraswati Samman (2002).


Theatre And Performance Studies
New Indian Playwrights