Kerala is home to a unique theatre form called kathakali. By chance, Andreas was studying kathakali just a few weeks ago as part of an IB theatre teaching training course, so he was very excited at the prospect of seeing a live performance.

Kathakali developed in southern India out of older Hindu temple dramas, and has remained essentially the same since the 17th century. A performance features elaborately made up and costumed actors who use a specialized language of hand gestures, facial movements, and dance to tell a traditional story or epic. The actors are supported by a singer and musicians.

The training for this art is rigorous and lengthy: four years to be a makeup artist, and six minimum for a singer or dancer/actor. The performances themselves are also lengthy, lasting from evening until dawn. A temple in Kochi hosted one of these while we were in India, but unfortunately we missed it because we were away in Aleppey. But happily for us there was a kathakali school right around the corner from our homestay in Kochi, and this school offered a nightly show for tourists. We went twice.

If you go early you can watch the performers putting on their makeup.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A man decorated the space with flowers, candles, and sand paintings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Because this was a demonstration for tourists, the actors showed some of some of the basic movements while a narrator explained what they meant. Kathakali actors spend thousands of hours learning to control eye and facial muscles.

Then they performed a scene or short story from one of the plays. On the nights we went we saw two different parts of the epic Mahabharata.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of our heroes kills the bad guy.


















About lornaofarabia

I am a teacher from Medford, Oregon. I currently live and work in Bangkok, Thailand.
This entry was posted in Elsewhere, Theatre and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a comment here. I like hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s