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Folk Entertainment & Drama- Introduction | Maanch (Drama) - Stage, Performance, Music, Costume


Folk Entertainment and Drama

The Muria and Maria Gonds of Bastar enact the hobby-horse dance during festivals and religious ceremonies. The Gonds of Mandla district perform the horse-ride mainly as an entertainment.

Boys come riding on hobby-horses made of sticks with rags tied around the top-ends as heads. They beat the people sitting around with tail ends of their hobby-horses. Then they pretend to ride away. At some distance they throw their hobby-horses and return.

Riddles provide both boys and girls a good entertainment. But with the gradual urbanization, this aspect of life is becoming rare and is fading away even from the remotest of villages.

In Chhattisgarh, rural entertainers often perform social satires. Jamadarin and Chaprasi are examples of such satires. Jamadarin is a skit on the practices of the priests who do not allow untouchables to come near the idols but accept their charity. Chaprasi is a farce on Government officials.

The Adivasis of Chhattisgarh are music-minded but they do not have anything like the traditional theatre in their society. Only some sort of rural farces serve the purpose of their folk-theatrical needs.

MAANCH : LYRIC DRAMA

Maanch which is a form of operatic ballet is very popular in Malwa. The word Maanch is derived from the Sanskrit folk-form, Manch i.e. the stage. As an indigenous folk-form, Maanch seems to have its beginning in the seventeenth century.

Maanch is generally performed in open air with barest of theatrical accessories. The stage is a round platform. It is never covered from any side. No curtain is used for the background. Close to the stage, at the rear, a place is reserved for old veterans. It is known as 'Bara Ghant Ka Pat' means a seat for experienced persons. On both sides the seats are provided for organisers and workers. The Guru or the leader sits on the stage itself. Provision for instrumentalists is made on the left side corner of the platform. The person who joins the singing of the refrain during the performance also sits near the 'Bara Ghant Ka Pat' or else gets a place near the instrumentalists on the stage.

Stage : Wooden poles and bamboos are used to provide the platform (stage) a height of five to six feet or even  more from the ground. The length of the stage is generally thirty feet while the width is about twenty feet.

A different type of stage was also popular in Malwa in which instrumentalists used to sit on a separate platform at a considerable height. The acting place used to be quite below this platform. Both the platforms were connected to each other. In such a stage-design the performers have a definite disadvantage. For the actors, who depend upon the dholak and sarangi players at suitable points while singing, will need to look up and thus lose the contact with the audience so vital for this folk form.

 

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