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The Play's the Thing

by Bhakta Wallace

Posted July 5, 2006


In William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet," in order to avenge the death of his father, Hamlet decides to stage a play before the new king, his father's brother, by which Hamlet shows how his father was poisoned by his envious brother thus setting up a prelude to the play's final bloody climax.

Stage plays can be very powerful tools and an ideal way to present the points of view of the writer enabling the masses to imbibe messages in an emotional and kinetic manner be they didactic, political, propagandistic or religious.

Over the years within ISKCON there have been many wonderful attempts at performing plays from the Vedic literatures and they have been very well received. Unfortunately, due to many circumstances, there is not a professional or semi-professional theatre troupe that performs plays on a regular basis whether inside or outside of the temple environment. In other words, there has been no real consideration or support for such ventures and probably this may be due to the fact that theatre was not as important as temple construction and/or book printing and distribution. However, the former can support both of these endeavors.

In England, state, government grants and/or a consortium of private investors and entrepreneurs primarily financed repertory theatres. However, in order to reach a broader audience rather than confine performances to just one venue in one town for example, the goal and vision of *The Vedic Theatre Company *is to create a "traveling theatre sankirtana" of 2-3 plays done in repertory in various towns throughout the United States much the way Barnum and Bailey operates their circus. In this way, Krsna consciousness can spread to "every town and village." Such a traveling theatre group requires money from serious devotees who may also share this vision.

Perhaps it is the very nature of theatre in general that serious consideration has not been given to establishing such a company in a very big way. However, it is a fact that in my opinion, theatre is the "new sankirtana" for the 21 st century in bringing people to an awareness of the conclusions of the Vedas and bhakti yoga in general.

Theatre is serious preaching that requires the commitment and money from many people who see this as the best way to further the preaching effort in ISKCON, not only around the world, but also in America.

I would therefore like to appeal to the many ISKCON congregational members and the GBC body at large to begin considering support for The Vedic Theatre Company as a concrete way of bringing Krsna to life..

In doing this, we will also be joining the stalwart company of previous Vaisnavas who also saw plays as the topmost way of preaching including none other than Srila Rupa Goswami who wrote and staged many plays for the benefit of the Vaisnavas 500 years ago to the sublime delight of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Think about it. Hare Krsna.

Contact: vedic108.blogspot.com