Theatre personalities of Haryana have worked to uphold the tradition of folk theatre in Haryana that is century's old and dates back to 16th century. Theatre in Haryana is called the Natya Plays, which was made into the amalgamation of music, dance, poetry and speech by the theatre personalities of Haryana. Haryana Drama was created by the theatre personalities of Haryana not merely for pleasure but for conveying moral truths and also to strengthen the cultural integrity. Folk theatre in Haryana is divided into two categories. Firstly, temple based religious theatre, depicting Indian Epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) and Puranas and the source material for characters and secondly community-based secular theatre, of minor forms and lighter variety.
In reality several themes of Haryana theatre are mixed together with mythological love, popular history and religious themes and different colours of secular values by the theatre personalities of Haryana. Haryana Swang however, follows the old tradition of Haryana, thus being the most popular variety of performance based on the 'open stage' technique. Through theatre, the theatre personalities of Haryana expresses the relationship of love, depicting legendary and modern tales of valour, sacrifice, humour and whatever interests human mind. The theatre personalities of Haryana have made several cultural troupes, comprising many talented artistes, including the director, producer musicians and actors. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, theatre personalities of Haryana performed many plays in western Uttar Pradesh and the adjoining Khadar area of Haryana.
The theatre personalities of Haryana do not enjoy the lavish facilities of urban theatre; rather they do not have curtains or a greenroom for make-up. There is only a wooden plat form of about three and a half metres long and of equal breadth. The theatre personalities of Haryana use any open space, be it a field, a courtyard or a balcony of a temple. The rest of the theatre art is all a display of skill and stamina of the theatre personalities of Haryana who perform as long as six hours. The most interesting aspect of theatre in this state is that the theatre personalities of Haryana do not use loudspeakers; they get up on the platform and speak at high volume. Some of the theatre personalities of Haryana, belonging to the music group play musical instruments like the ektara, kharta, dholak, sarangi and harmonium to bring about the flavour into the dialogues.
Folk theatre in Haryana is believed to stand on a solid base since its start and is very popular even today. Ali Baksh of Rewari is the father of traditional folk theatre in Haryana and has staged the mythological-cum-historical saga Padmavati. Other prominent theatre personalities of Haryana are Swami Har Dev, Pandit Bhartu, Dhoom, Qutabi, Pandit Lakshmi Chand and a host of others. Haryana theatre is performed primarily in the rural areas. The Cultural Festival is organized by the Government of India, aiming at reviving this disintegrating culture of Theatre by promoting the theatre personalities of Haryana and their music through festivals and other related programmes.
(Last Updated on : 20-04-2012)