Photo Courtesy www.tourismofkerala.com
Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world. It originated in the area of southwestern India now known as the state of Kerala. Kathakali, a well-developed dance-drama, is a performance where the actors depict characters from the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and from the Puranas (ancient scriptures). The dancers adorn themselves in huge skirts and head-dress, wearing a most intricate style of make-up.
Kathakali draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes. Kathakali recitals are generally long and while other dance forms are more emotive than narrative, Kathakali is both. It combines dance with dialogue to bring myth and legend to life in the temple courtyards of Kerala. The dancers use their stunning costumes and make-up, with the accompaniment of drums and vocalists, to create various moods and emotions.
A traditional Kathakali performance begins in the evening and continues throughout the night, culminating at the auspicious hour of dawn, when Good finally conquers Evil. Today, however, it has been modified for the proscenium stage, and urban audiences can participate in this ritualistic theatre experience in the comfort of a plush auditorium, within the span of a couple of hours.