‘Purdah hai purdah!’
Proscenium theatre and technologies of illusionism
in Empires of light
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

manchesterhive requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals - to see content that you/your institution should have access to, please log in through your library system or with your personal username and password.

If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/extracts and download selected front and end matter. 

Institutions can purchase access to individual titles; please contact manchesterhive@manchester.ac.uk for pricing options.


If you have an access token for this content, you can redeem this via the link below:

Redeem token

Countering the predominantly literary analysis of Parsi theatre, this chapter reassesses theatre as the site of many experiments with visual technologies as the proscenium stage introduced a fixed grammar of the curtain into the fluid spaces of premodern performance. Framed like a painting, the stage introduced illusionist painting, directional lighting and lavish costumes to present stories with verisimilitude, enticing viewers into its world. Exploring links between Parsi theatre and Ravi Varma’s paintings, the chapter discusses melodrama as an alternative aesthetic mode that bound viewers and performers. Finally, it proposes limits to the gaze of darshan as a visual trope in analyses of theatre and mythological imagery, arguing that innovative optics of theatre and painting were influenced by and in conversation with technologies of the spectacle within imperial networks.

Empires of light

Vision, visibility and power in colonial India


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 47 47 0
Full Text Views 0 0 0
PDF Downloads 0 0 0