Girish Karnad is not only India's leading playwright, and a practitioner across the performing arts in all that nation's media, but the first contemporary Indian writer to have achieved a major production in a regional American theatre – Naga-Mandala, seen at the Guthrie Theatre in July 1993. The following interview was recorded on the occasion of that production, and ranges widely not only over Karnad's own work and its circumstances, but the situation and problems of the Indian theatre today, and its ambivalent relationship alike to its classical and its colonial past, and to the contemporary problems of its society. The interviewer, Aparna Dharwadker, is Assistant Professor of Drama and Eighteenth-Century British Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her essays and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in PMLA, Modern Drama, and The Sourcebook of Post-Colonial English Literatures and Cultural Theory (Greenwood, 1995). She has also published collaborative translations of modern Hindi poetry in major anthologies, including The Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry (1994), and is currently completing a book-length study of the politics of comic and historical forms in late seventeenth-century drama.
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