One scene, three characters, rich dramatics — ‘Maya Seethankam,’ was a brilliant piece of exploration
Well-known artiste Margi Madhu Chakyar, son and nephew of the famed Koodiyattam artistes Moozhikkulam Kochukuttan Chakyar and Ammannoor Madhava Chakyar, and founder, Napthya Centre for Excellence in Koodiyattam, describes the Sanskrit theatre style of Koodiyattam as ‘micro acting.’ It is an apt description of a style that is all about nuances and details rather than a narrative or a storyline. There is no music, no dance, apart from the pure nritta performed in the opening ritualistic purvaranga, no crisp exchange of dialogue, but a stylised chanting of the short lines in one of the 24 codified ragas. The excitement lies in the dramatic exploration of a situation, the elaborate costuming, make-up, a grammatical gestural language based on the Hasta Lakshana Deepika and exaggerated mime using the eyes, eyebrows, cheeks and lips, along with the technique of breath control, are the vehicles of communication.
It is not a narrative, where a story begins and ends, but an elaboration of a short scene in a play. In Koodiyattam one act of a Sanskrit play becomes a performance; the 3-4 pages of text can take five days or forty one, according to Margi Madhu. Incidentally, the two-hour play at Kalakshetra, ‘Maya Seethankam’ represented just one segment of the third act of Saktibhadra’s Ascharyachudamani.
There was only one scene. It is the scene following Rama’s departure from the Panchavati hermitage in search of the golden deer Mareecha, after putting Lakshmana in charge of Sita’s safety. On being hit by Rama’s arrow, Mareecha cries out for help in Rama’s voice. This sparks an argument between Lakshmana and Sita.....Read more
Source web page: The hindu