Koodiyaattam, the classical theatre form, has a tradition of several centuries. As social norms changed across time and women were relegated to a subservient role, it was natural that the art form also reflected such relegation. Female characters in Koodiyaattam were side-lined and became appendages necessary for the fulfillment of the plot. As women across the world started claiming their rightful role in society in the latter part of twentieth century, Koodiyaattam also reflected this revival. Nangiarkoothu, the part of Koodiyaattam theatre in which female actors and characters have exclusive dominance was revived and enacted after a gap of several centuries. Of such female characters portrayed in Nangiarkoothu, Draupadi is one of the most prominent.
The text for this play was provided by Dr. KV Vasudevan and choreography was done by Smt. Usha Nangiar. The play is enacted in three parts.
The first part titled “Vivaham” (marriage) portrays how Draupadi was won in marriage by the great warrior Arjuna. She was completely enamoured by this hero, but was shocked when she learned that she was to be shared as the consort of five brothers. The moral dilemma and apprehensions faced by the character in one of the crucial moments of her life is the central theme of this part.
The second part titled “Dyoota sabha” reveals the pivotal moment in Draupadi’s life and in the great epic Mahabharatha. Slightest of insolence from Draupadi when she smiled at Duryodhana’s missteps in her palace is paid back with sheer brutality. Draupadi has to undergo the worst kind of insult for any women and swears vengeance on the perpetrators.
The third part depicts Draupadi after a sanguine battle in which Draupadi has lost all her sons, brothers, father and many dear ones. Draupadi once again seethes in anger at the rogue Ashwathama who has slaughtered all her dear ones in sleep. Retribution once again becomes her mission.
Wednesday, 2nd December 2015, 11.15 am – Draupadi Part 1
Thursday, 3rd December 2015, 10.00 am – Draupadi Part 2
Friday, 4th December 2015, 10.00 am – Draupadi Part 3
Artiste: Usha Nangiar
Venue: HRH Princess Haya Bint Hussein Theatre, GEMS Wellington International School, Dubai