Lata Singh’s Raising the Curtain: Recasting Women Performers in India reveals how women in theatre and performance in the country have moved, changed and evolved over a period of time. Her absorbing book turns the spotlight on the little known history of theatrical performance, restoring women performers to their rightful place by documenting their lives and highlighting their overall contribution to this genre. Normally women performers in India—including issues of feminism, with all its contentiousness—were discussed by examining assorted ideological perspectives and positions of caste, class, gender and prevailing social conditions. Singh’s book, however, is a different, welcome and long overdue addition to the study of women performers in colonial and Independent India. What previously existed were fragments of the wider perspective and conjectures that provided a glimpse, more a sideways glance, into the world of the stage artist.
December 2017, volume 41, No 12