Background Setting in Kannada Theatre
But on the other hand, many an other troupe had but the four inevitable curtains of the "Durbar Scene", "Forest Scene", "Street Scene", and the "Home Scene", The same curtains were used to provide the 'background' for different scenes in any play. These common curtains later acquired some incongruous paintings on modern subjects and a bold blatant mention of the painter's name. Even mythological plays were staged with modern paintings on the background curtain, and more often than not, the very elementary principles of providing appropriate settings, scenery, costumes, ornaments and weapons to reflect the times of the theme were clearly flouted. Many a time the effect of a moving sequence or a piece of good acting was shattered by an odd and ugly background curtain and unnatural settings. Till the beginning of the thirties, a glaring artificiality in settings, costumes and an over-colouring in make-up seem to have been an accepted trait of the professional performances. The make-up looked so alien to Indian themes that in 1921, Jinaraja Dasa pleaded for a change in the method of play presentation.
Natural Settings in Kannada Theatre
Yet up to the time of Mohamed Peer, there were but a few instances of agreeable and natural settings in play-production, because the merit of the play of a professional troupe had come to be judged entirely on the qualities of transfer-scenes, settings, costumes and dances rather than, on the merit of the theme itself and the plot construction. It had been the aim of professional troupes to overshadow the fabulous methods of Parsi productions and indeed, some troupes like that of Veeranna, of Venkobarao and of Shivamurthiswami did succeed in their attempts. Kurukshetra of the Gubbi Company could be cited as an example for, it attracted thousands of people from villages and cities because of its fabulous transfer-scenes of Krishna's apartment, of Geetopadesha, of Sharatalpa, and also on account of the movement of elephants, horses and chariots across the stage in the battle scenes. It became an imposing example of the most pompous productions on the Kannada stage. It was spectacular indeed, with its settings and scenery. Many a professional troupe aimed at emulating the daring example of the Gubbi Company, but it failed. Such overdoing of settings sacrificed all directness, simplicity and symbolism. The advertising handbills of the early thirties reflected on the tastes of the audience, as also on the attractions publicised by the stage.
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