Early Eras

The “Early Eras” of Indian theatre do not include much theatre.  Nevertheless, understanding theatre in India requires some familiarity with India’s formative epochs.  The principal interests of Indian theatre derive from cultural foundations laid in the subcontinent even before history was being written.  Religious imagery, ritual forms and subjects, social structure, epic stories and the heroes of epic literature, provide the basic material from which theatre in India is built.  Much of the theatre that happens in India, today, will remain a closed book to one who knows nothing of these early eras.

These early eras include:

  1. India’s prehistory, which already exhibits the kind of diversity that characterizes Indian history
  2. The Indus Valley Civilization
  3. The Vedic Age
  4. The Epic World of the Mahabharata and Ramayana