Encountering the Ramlila of Ramnagar: From Fieldnotes in 1978 and 2013


  • Richard Schechner New York University


These fieldnotes describe both Schechner's 1978 encounter with the Ramlila of Ramnagar, the first time he experienced the entire ritual performance, and his experience in 2013, the most recent time he participated. Included in the notes are some detailed descriptions of the Assighat neighborhood of Varanasi. Schechner lived there during his work on the Ramlila. The thirty-five-year gap will help the reader assess both the continuities and the changes in the Ramlila and the context which it inhabits and from which it comes. The notes are very lightly edited. Schechner's intention in publishing them as raw fieldnotes is to give readers as closely as possible what Schechner actually felt and saw.

Author Biography

Richard Schechner, New York University

Richard Schechner is University Professor and professor of Performance Studies at New York University. He is editor of TDR: The Drama Review. His books include Environmental Theater, The End of Humanism, Between Theater and Anthropology, Performance Theory, Performance Studies: An Introduction, and Performed Imaginaries. His theatre productions have been seen in the US, Romania, Poland, France, India, China, Taiwan, the UK, and the Republic of South Africa. He writes scholarly works, poetry, and short fiction. His books have been translated into more than fifteen languages.