- 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.)
- III, V
- Mar 2022
- Elective Course
The course is designed to encourage students to engage artistically and creatively with their discipline from the standpoint of humanities. It is a standalone course which works brilliantly as an introduction to the discipline of law and develops an appetite for higher legal research as well.
The course keeps the law as its focal point while introducing theatre to students. The course draws attention to the social impact of the law through artistic expressions and to understand artistic articulations of justice. Basic questions addressed by the course are: How do theatre and law interact? How are they similar and more importantly, in which ways do they differ? How have practitioners used theatre in the field of law? How has law shaped theatre?
The course uses four plays as primary material based on which abovementioned issues can be discussed. Apart from three written scripts by renowned playwrights, various other modes of theatre practices will be discussed, like the use of Legislative theatre by Augusto Boal in Brazil and the use of Budhan theatre by de-notified tribes in Gujarat to seek justice. These scripts and theatre practices form the platform from which connections can be made between the two fields. Justice is the common goal of law and social theatre and both disciplines define and achieve justice in their own ways. By the end of the course, the students will focus on the very idea of justice. I have decided to leave out a very theoretical introduction to Performance Studies and instead, chosen to introduce performance studies as a discipline using primary materials as examples. Abstract notions are difficult to grasp. Examples of practices that combine theatre and law would prove more engaging and interesting for the students.
Through a play, we learn about theatre and how it engages with society and with the question of law and justice. Historical and socio-political contexts of playwrights will be crucial to the course. I would end the course with talking about my personal experience of doing theatre with children in juvenile detention centres. If I get permission from my theatre group, I would be sharing the recorded performances from the workshop.
The students will ask themselves why they are studying the law. To be competent lawyers or is there something more to the discipline? As the young step out to become future lawyers and judges, this becomes an important question and is the primary objective of the course.
The course seeks to inculcate critical thinking, research skills and most importantly, encourage them to think on the limits of law. That is, to think from the point of view of those who have benefited the least from the modern legal institutions. For the future of law and humanity, this exercise is fundamental for further development of both.
The theatre workshops and study of intersections of theatre with law equip students to articulate better in court rooms, conferences, interviews, client meetings. They will learn how to perform better as lawyers and judges.