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Distributed for Seagull Books

The Parsi Theatre

Its Origins and Development

Edited and Translated by Kathryn Hansen
A seminal study of a historically significant theater style.
Unrivaled in its long-term impact, Parsi theater remains a crucial component of South Asia’s cultural heritage. Like vaudeville in America, Parsi theater dominated mass entertainment in colonial India in the era before cinema. Drawn by the magic of sight and sound, crowds filled the country’s urban playhouses each night. Marked by extravagant acting, operatic singing, and melodramatic stage effects, this cosmopolitan theater brought an unprecedented level of sophistication to the South Asian stage and transformed commercial drama into a modern industry, paving the way for Indian cinema. This volume presents Somnath Gupt’s classic history of Parsi theater in an English translation enhanced by illustrations, annotations, and appendices, which make it a more comprehensive and accurate reference work.

240 pages | 32 halftones | 6 x 9 1/4

The India List

Asian Studies: South Asia

Literature and Literary Criticism: Dramatic Works

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Table of Contents

A Few Words
1.Before the Parsi Theatre
2.The Origins of the Parsi Theatre
3.The Development of the Parsi Theatre
4.Urdu Dramatists of the Parsi Stage
5.The Parsi Theatrical Companies
6.Parsi Actors
7.Other Elements of the Parsi Theatre
8.The Indar Sabha and its Influence
9.Impact of the Parsi Theatrical Companies
Appendix: The Beginnings of Hindu Drama in Bombay and Maharashtra

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