Event Preview: Draupadi Kuravanchi- a play by Kattaikkuttu Sangam @ Narada Gana Sabha, Alwarpet, Chennai
The Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals, a theatre company based out of Punjarsantankal Village near Kanchipuram Town, set up and run by Kattaikkuttu Sangam, will be performing Draupadi Kuravanchi. The event has been scheduled from March 13-16 at Narada Gana Sabha Hall, Alwarpet, Chennai.
The event is being organised in collaboration with Shraddha (www.shraddhatheatre.com) and aims to showcase Kattaikkuttu in an urban setting and in a venue which normally chooses to host ‘classic’ art forms only. The team at Shraddha is trying to set a precedent for future performances of Kattaikkuttu in the urban sphere. They first saw Kattaikkuttu at a fundraising event and loved the energy from the young performers. They wanted to bring this unique experience to a wider urban audience in Chennai.
Kattaikkuttu is a traditional, highly intricate and raw form of physical theatre which uses song, dialogue, music, dance, make-up, costumes, drama and ritual. Performances are high-energy, intense events that recreate the mythical world of kings, gods and sages in stories from the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. In addition to the traditional Kattaikkuttu repertoire, the Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals Company explores the boundaries of the form through reimagining traditional plays and producing innovative artistic work. Directed by Perungattur P Rajagopal, the company is famous for revitalising Kattaikkuttu as a contemporary form of theatre. The Company members are from disadvantaged backgrounds and include girls – a historic innovation in a theatre that traditionally was a male-only prerogative.
The Play, Draupadi Kuravanchi, tells the tale of Krishna’s and Draupadi’s dark quest to subvert the plans of the hundred Kauravas to eliminate their cousins, the Pandavas. It features the ritual of trance that empowers Draupadi-the-Kuratti to engage her enemies’ minds through psychological warfare while playing on their inner-most secrets and confronting them with their own sacrificial deaths on the battlefield in a horrific, fraternal, future war. The play shows us the ambivalence of the iconic Draupadi ― a caring, auspicious mother carrying her baby on her hip and a vengeful goddess demanding the sacrificial death on the battlefield of those who have humiliated her.
The Play, Draupadi Kuravanchi, normally an 8 hour production, has been reinterpreted and reworked into a 90 minutes version by Artistic Director P Rajagopal, to adapt to an urban audience and venue.