Posted by: blaikeh | December 17, 2007

Indian Sanskrit Theatre

  Indian Sanskrit Theatre first began sometime in the first century in India. There are two main performance traditions in Indian Sanskrit Theatre. The first of the two is Kutiyattam. Kutiyattam is one of the oldest traditions in India, which dates back to the 10th century. The second of the two is Kathakali. Kathakali dates back to 17th century form and the warriors originally performed it. It is to be seen as a form of Kutiyattam. Both of these two traditions derived from Kerela India. Sanskrit plays are credited to the mythic sage Bharata as well as traces an origin to the god Brahma. The god Brahma played a huge role in the 4 Hindu Vedas, which were sacred texts. Brahma combined all of the Vedas together to create the 5th one, which was called natya, meaning “theatre”.  A good Sanskrit play should include all 8 Rasa’s from the Natyasastra. A Rasa is the tastes or flavours that will compliment and contrast one another. The eight Rasa’s include love, mirth, sadness, wrath, vigour, disgust, the terrible and finally the marvellous.   Now I am sure you will be wondering what the Natyasastra is? well I am here to let you know. The Natyasastra is a manuscript filled with dramatic texts and performance codes. Natyasastra means “authoritative text on the theatre.”  The Natyasastra was the earliest critical writing in India and it covers all aspects of production. It describes everything from costumes and makeup to the stages and roles that the actors should use. The Natyasastra was written sometime between 200 B.C.E and 200 C.E.  Over all I have learned a lot about Indian Sanskrit Theatre and I hope I have taught you all a little something. In today’s society Indian Sanskrit Theatre isn’t really performed so it may be hard to get a taste of true Sanskrit plays, but I will let Katie go a little deeper into Sanskrit Plays for you!

  Felner, M., & Orenstein, C. (2006). The World of Theatre. Boston, U.S.A: Pearson Education


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