Kathakali and Kutiyattam, is a form of theatre performed in the state of Kerala, India.
It is believed to be 2,000 years old. It is officially recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Its origin and evolution are a mystery…
Access to performances was originally restricted owing to their sacred nature.
The actor’s role retains a sacred dimension. There is an oil lamp on stage during the entire performance symbolizing a divine presence.
The performances are based on themes from Hindu mythology. Kathakali performers do not speak. They use only (24) hand gestures and a series of nine facial expressions, also known as Navarasam.
The makeup is more like a mask than traditional make-up. For the performers, his hands are his words and his face and his eyes are his emotions. The actor come on stage in front of everybody to do the makeup.
Emotion is the heart of Kathakali and the engine room of the drama. There is no element of Kathakali that is not driven by emotion.
Kathakali is able to unite with the very core of our understanding and generate a connection with the most basic of our instincts, the desire to create, explore the unknown and express what we find with others.
Kathakali will survive the changes of time because emotion is the foundation on which we progress as a civilisation.
« Where the hands go the eyes follow,
Where the eyes go the mind follow,
Where the mind goes the emotion will follow »
Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar