"I see theatre's current state amidst the social media era as a delicate dance between tradition and innovation," Shikhar Mishra

Piyush Singh
New Update
Shikhar Mishra

When social media has become a go-to platform for people to create and consume content, do traditional theatre performances need revival? Shikhar Mishra, a Natyashashtra Researcher helps us understand.

Growing up, perfect weekends meant family outings to theatre shows for me, where I would enjoy those live performances. The exaggerated mannerisms of the actors, their vibrant expressions, and the palpable energy of the stage created an experience unlike any other. For some reason, I felt a deep connection to the stories being played and the actors portraying them. I wanted to know how they chose just the right music, dialogues, and actions that made me feel these emotions. I miss the experience when going to theatre performances was among the most popular things you could do on a weekend. As I grew up, I saw the internet and social media shaping our cultural landscape. Over time, people realized that online viewership is actually gold, and many artists made the best out of it. Social media provided a platform for artists who wanted to put their art out there. Not only that, but it also encouraged people to try their hands in art. It’s all good, but I can't help but wonder how it affects people associated with traditional art forms like theatre. Does the pressure to adapt to digital platforms overshadow the appreciation for the raw authenticity of live performances? It's a question that lingers in my head.

In an era dominated by the pervasive influence of social media, traditional theatre finds itself at a crossroads, questioning its relevance and resilience in the face of the growing need to be online. Shikhar Mishra, a distinguished Natyashastra researcher, gave his insights over the same while advocating for a nuanced approach that preserves the essence of traditional theatre while embracing the opportunities presented by social media.

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From the lens of a Natyashastra Researcher, the challenges confronting traditional theatre amidst the allure of instant gratification and fleeting distractions are manifold. Shikhar adds to it with saying "As someone deeply rooted in traditional theatre, I see it's current state amidst the social media era as a delicate dance between tradition and innovation" which emphasizes the delicate balance required to maintain audience engagement while upholding the profound aesthetic values delineated in Natyashastra. The essence of live theatre, rooted in the exploration of human emotions and the dynamic interplay between performers and spectators, offers a transcendent experience which is something social media has been unable to do. 

However, rather than viewing social media as a threat, he advocates embracing it as a platform for amplifying reach, fostering audience engagement, and exploring new avenues for artistic expression. He said, "Adapting to this changing landscape will require creativity and willingness to embrace new technologies while staying true to our artistic roots" And it makes sense in an era where traditional art forms have to make an extra effort to appear appealing to the new generation. In this case, social media is a tool to bridge that gap. Many theatre performers share their art on social media which encourages more people to know about it. By integrating social media seamlessly into traditional theatre, practitioners have the opportunity to enrich the theatre experience, expand storytelling repertoire, and deepen connections with audiences while remaining steadfast in their commitment to preserving the aesthetic of Natyashastra. Considering the massiveness of the impact that social media has created, Shikhar underscores the imperative for traditional theatre practitioners, particularly those steeped in the teachings of Natyashastra, to engage with social media platforms. By harnessing the transformative power of social media while staying true to the timeless principles of Natyashastra, practitioners can not only adapt to change but uphold the rich legacy of Indian theatre tradition.

In conclusion, the revival of traditional theatre in the age of social media is not only feasible but also imperative. Through strategic and authentic engagement with social media, informed by the wisdom of Natyashastra, traditional theatre can reclaim its relevance and popularity. At the same time, it will also forge new pathways for artistic exploration, and continue to inspire and captivate audiences in a contemporary context. As Shikhar Mishra eloquently demonstrates, the intersection of traditional art forms and modern technology holds immense potential. 

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