Recognised by UNESCO as one among the “Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”, it is the only surviving Sanskrit theatre in the world. Extant over 2000 years, it is arguably the oldest existing classical theatre form in the entire world.
Koodiyattam is a timeless theater. Having a traceable history of nearly 2000 years, it is as contemporary as it is classical. In its narratives and theater, Koodiyattam never felt out of place in a classical, neo-classical, modern, post-modern or deconstructed world. In much the same vein, this art form was bold enough to set up a women centric theater much before feminism was even a vague notion in the western world.
Koodiyaattam holds pride of place in the glorious theater tradition of India with its antiquity and with its highly evolved dramatic sensibility.
IKKF 2019 would stage Koodiyaattam performance by some of the leading artistes in the current generation. In this edition, Shoorpanakhaankam, an act from Ascharyachoodamani written by the Kerala poet Shakthibhadran around 8th century CE would be enacted. The first day of the performance would be Nirvahanam (elaborate entry by a major character in Koodiyattam where she or he enacts her present situation in the play), by Shoorpanakha as Lalitha. In Koodiyaattam also, a demoness in the garb of a noble woman is called Lalitha and the actor has to manage a nuanced portrayal of the dualism. Shoorpanakha whose husband has been killed is in search of a new spouse and not finding any of the gods to her taste, she sights Sreerama and is smitten by love. On the second day, Sreerama the protagonist would do his Nirvahanam, describing how he, the crown prince of Ayodhya came to be exiled to the forest by his father. And on the third day would the actual Koodiyaattam (acting together) be staged, portraying Shoorpanakha as Lalitha, Rama, his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana. Shoorpanakha tries to abduct Sita after being spurned by Rama. Lakshmana intervenes and mutilates her. The bleeding demoness then appears on stage as Ninam, a visually striking theatrical transformation in Koodiyaattam.
Friday November 29, 2019 – 9.30 am : Shoorpanakhaankam Part 1
Saturday November 30, 2019 – 9.00 am : Shoorpanakhaankam Part 2
Sunday December 1, 2019 – 9.00 am : Shoorpanakhaankam Part 3