Friday, February 3, 2017
Playwright: Anamika Mishra
Director: Anurupa Roy
Group: Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, New Delhi
Language: Hindi/ English / Kannada
Duration: 1 hr 10 min
“Human beings are born for peace; they like to grow up in peace. They like to raise their children in peace, and they like to say goodbye to this beautiful life in peace. Then why are we always preparing for war?”
This seems to be the central dilemma of the Mahabharata. When we block ourselves to other points of view, narrowing down our worlds to our own version of justice, are we headed for war? When each person traps himself within one motive and their version of status quo, are we primed to kill and die? When the characters of the Mahabharata begin to wage their personal wars, closing themselves to the consequences of their actions, things snowball into an apocalypse. OurMahabharata explores the inner dilemmas of fifteen characters in the play through a stream of consciousness narrative of their past and present motives. Does each character’s single minded and unquestioning loyalty to one belief system lead to the inevitable conflict? Was there ever a moment when each of these characters could have averted war by choosing differently? Or are we doomed to make the same choices eternally?
This performance with puppets, masks, shadow puppets and materials looks at the Mahabharata as a dynamic narrative which has evolved over a few thousand years through the sung verses of Togalu Gombeyatta’s Sillakeyata Mahabharta and remains relevant in the new search of contemporary puppeteers. The story itself is increasingly relevant in the polarized conflict ridden world of today. The characters then become archetypes for conflicts small and large whether in world politics or the family or community and the narrative is an over arching metaphor for many political, institutional, social situations in the world today. But our central question is what could have averted the Apocalyptic Mahabharata war. What choices could each character have altered? And what choices can each one of us alter? What fixed believes must be question and let go of to prevent such a war in the future. Can we start by acknowledging that none will survive such a war and thus it must be prevented?
Anurupa Roy is a puppeteer and puppet director. She has a diploma in puppet theatre from Dramatiska Institute, University of Stockholm (2001) and has trained under Bruno Leone at the Scoul Della Guaratelle in Naples, Italy. She is the Founder/ Managing trustee of the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust.
Anamika Mishra has a Masters Degree in English Literature from the University of Delhi. She has worked for NDTV’s ‘Gustakhi Maaf’ or Double Take, puppet theatre satire on the channel. She has worked as both producer and writer. She has been a puppeteer with Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust from 2000-2003 as a puppeteer and script writer. Currently, she works as a freelance content writer, script writer and dramaturg. She has worked on the Mahabharata performance as a researcher, writer and dramaturge.
The Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust started as a small group of puppeteers and was founded by Anurupa Roy in1998 in New Delhi. Today it is a cultural trust, registered in 2006, that works more as an ensemble company with puppeteers, dancers, actors, etc. The group has over 16 productions ranging from Shakespearean comedies, The Ramayana, shows on global warming and historical manuscripts like theHumayun-Nama, and experimental material-theatre using just newspapers to create visuals. The main focus of the group is to create performances with puppets or animate material, to train professional puppeteers, and explore the possibilities of using puppets beyond stage performances.
Cast & Credits
Puppeteers: Vivek Kumar, Mohammad Shameem, Anurupa Roy, Avinash Kumar, Gunduraju
Original Music Score: Suchet Malhotra
Animation: Atul Sinha
Puppet Design & Construction: Mohammad Shameem
Shadow Puppets: S. Chidambara Rao
Choreography: Avinash Kumar
Shadow Puppets & Script Advice: Gunduraju
Shadow Puppet Construction: S. Chidambara Rao
Light Design: Milind Shrivastav
Script Anamika Mishra
Design, Concept & Direction Anurupa Roy
Ms. Anurupa Roy
The Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust
108 Siddharth Enclave,
Ashram Chowk, New Delhi – 110014
M: +91 9810511360
Playwright: Mahavaki Bhasa
Director: Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Group: Sopanam, Thiruvananthapuram
Duration: 1hr 30 min
The central point of the play is the word ‘Madhyama’ (the middle one), applied to both Bhima- the Madhyama Pandava, and the Madhyama, the second of the three sons of a Brahmin. The old Brahmin, his wife and three sons are pursued by Ghatotkacha, son of Bhima born of demoness Hidimba. Ghatotkacha has been sent by his mother Hidimba to get her a human being for breakfast. The distressed father clings to the eldest son and the bereaved mother to the youngest son. Therefore, the second son Madhyama offers to go with Ghatotkacha. Madhyama goes to a nearby pond to quench his thirst, as he does not return, the impatient Ghatotkacha calls out, ‘Madhyama! Come soon’. Hearing his name Bhima, who is nearby, comes to the spot. Bhima learns that Ghatotkacha is his own son and offers himself in place of the Brahmin’s second son. They go to Hidimba’s dwelling. Hidimba is overjoyed to see Bhima and asks her son, Ghatotkacha to fall at his feet. A happy reunion follows.
The image of middle-ness is effectively used to represent the innate modesty, courage and suffering of Bhima. But it is equally applicable to the second son of the Brahmin family also. The master stroke of Bhasa’s quality of humor justifies the saying about the ‘hasa’ of ‘Bhasa’. The structure of the play is designed in such a way that the position of Hidimba as Sutradhara is divulged only at the last moment leading to the unexpected meeting between the long separated husband and wife. The humor that is Bhasa’s forte reaches its height when the father finds out the identity of his son and decides to hold on to the information.
Poet, playwright, theatre-director, writer, musician, lyricist, Shri Kavalam Narayana Panikkar (1928 – 2016) was a multi-faceted legend. As a leading exponent of the traditional and folk theatre, Panikkar is revered greatly for his successful productions of the traditional Sanskrit plays. His signature directorial ventures include Mahavaki Bhasa’sMadhyamavyayogam, Karnabharam, Urubhangam, all the three plays of Mahakavi Kalidasa viz. Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimithram and Vikramorvashiyam, Panikkar’s own plays in Malayalam like Avanavankadamba, Ottayan, Theyya Theyyam, Kallurutty and Hindi productions like Uttara Rama Charitham and Sangamaneeyam. Honoured with Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, his contributions to the field of art brought him many other awards including the Nandikar Award, Kalidas Samman, Vallathol Puraskar and Bharatmuni Samman.
Sopanam Institute of Performing Arts and Research Centre (established in 1964) has inherited the great legacy of its founder director Shri Kavalam Narayana Panikkar. The team is committed to the promotion of Indian theatre, Sanskrit plays, Sopana Sangeetham, Mohiniattam, contemporary recreations of classical plays, dramatization of poems, folk songs, folk tales and performance of new plays. Daivathar, Avanavankadamba, Theyya Theyyam, Kallurutty are a few popular Malayalam plays of Sopanam. Besides, the group has also produced many Sanskrit plays like Urubhangam, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Karnabharam, Dootvakyam, Madhyama Vyayogam, as well as Hindi plays like Uttara Rama Charitham and Sangamaneeyam.
Sopanam conducts training workshops and academic programmes for youth and children, offering courses in theatre acting, music and Mohiniattam. The group has participated in several prestigious theatre festivals in India and abroad.
Cast & Credits
Ghatotkacha Gireesh V
Bheema Biju Kumar
Brahmana Sajikumar Sl
Brahmini Keerthana Ravi
Pradhama Sreekant Sankar S U
Kanishta Praveen C P
Hidimba Mohini Vinayan
Group Santhosh N M,
Vaditram Ramdas K, Maneksha K S
Keyboard Sabu K N
Lighting Sreekanth Nair, Komalan Nair G
Costume Design G. Aravindan
Costume Execution Murali Chandran
Stage Management Krishnakumar Menon
Co-ordination Kalyani Krishnan
Team Management Sarada Panikkar
Playwright Mahakavi Bhasa
Design & Direction Kavalam Narayana Panikkar
Ms. Kalyani Krishnan,
Thiruvananthapuram – 695032
M: +91 9447024461