Arts and Culture
Bengali Vaishnavism as a religious movement has a long history of its relationship with drama and theater. The famous dramas of Rupa Goswami (1489-1564) and his work Nataka-candrica as well as Indian Sanskrit and Medieval Theater laid a foundation for developing an interesting tradition of theatrical experience within the religious culture of Bengali Vaishnavism that is now spread all around the world.
We discuss this tradition in general tracing its origin to Sanskrit theater (starting with Bharata’s “Natyasastra” dated to between 200 BC and 200 AD) and focusing on present performance practices of modern troupes (professional and semiprofessional) in India, Europe and USA.
We offer a critical analysis of Bengali Vaishnavism cultural experience in modern times in the area of drama and stage performance.
We compare the sustainability of Bengali Vaishnavism theatrical culture with contemporary condition of traditional Sanskrit Theater Kutiyattam (the only form of Ancient Indian Theater that is still present on the stage).
In conclusion we summarize what could be the main terms and conditions enabled tradition to grow and what can be the future development of Bengali Vaishnavism approach to drama and stage performance.