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Kerala’s popular Kathakali in London

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The highly experienced team of Kathakali artistes from Kerala will be in London to deliver an exciting performances. London’s prestigious Southbank Centre will host Kathakali‘, a spectacular and ancient theatre show from South Indian state of Kerala, on  Saturday 23 May

London’s prestigious Southbank Centre will host ‘Kathakali’, a spectacular and ancient theatre show from South Indian state of Kerala, on  Saturday 23 May.

The event by Kala Chetena Kathakali Company is part of Alchemy, Southbank Centre’s festival celebrating cultural connections between South Asia and the UK. Thousands attended the two-day Jaipur Fest held during the last weekend.

A unique aspect of Kathakali is the use of three dimensional make up, painted on with rice paper over many hours.  Stunning images, vivid colours, passion, emotion and music of Kerala will lit up the London stage.

The highly experienced team of Kathakali artists from Kerala will be in London to deliver the exciting, innovative and collaborative work through performances, workshops, lectures and exhibitions of the stunning costumes.

Besides Southbank Centre, they will be performing around 43 stages in the UK, bringing Kerala culture to several parts of Britain – From Isles of Scilly to the Highlands of Scotland – from inner cities to the small remote villages.

The Kala Chetena Kathakali Company is one of the leading Kathakali companies outside of India. The group was founded in 1987 by Kathakali make up specialist – Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar and Kathakali actor Kalamandalam Vijayakumar to bring the remarkable art and culture of Kathakali to the UK.

The Company aims to increase access, awareness, understanding and enjoyment of Kathakali whilst respecting its ancient traditions. The company work with highly trained and experienced international artists to deliver exciting, innovative and collaborative work through performances, workshops, lectures and exhibitions of the stunning costumes.

Over the last 28 years, Kathakali was taken to thousands of people from the Isles of Scilly to the Highlands of Scotland. The company takes pride in making Kathakali accessible to all regardless of age, ability, cultural background and location.

Kathakali stories are powerful and heart rendering. Let us nurture the ancient traditions of Kathakali for future generations to enjoy. One of the stories that the trope from Kerala will be performing is Daksha Yaga. (Irayimman Tampi wrote some of the most popular Kathakali plays, including Daksha Yaga. He was the poet for the King of Travancore, south Kerala).

The story tells how King Daksha, the son of Brahma, husband of Vedavali and devotee of Lord Siva finds a baby girl in the river. They adopt her and they call her Sati. Sati grows up to marry Lord Siva but Daksha is offended when Lord Siva and Sati leave the wedding ritual without saying goodbye.

Lord Siva and Sathi go to live on the sacred Mount Kailash in the Himalayas. Daksha feels that the marriage is a mistake. He is insulted and decides to hold a Yaga [Ceremony] without inviting the couple. Sati goes to go to the Yaga but as predicted by Siva Daksha is angry and sends her away. Sathi returns to Siva and tells him of her humiliating visit. Siva comforts her by promising to take revenge on Daksha.

Sathi creates Bhadra Kali and Siva orders Vhirabhadra, the leader of his army, to destroy Daksha`s ceremony. Daksha refuses to acknowledge Siva so they behead him. Sathi is so distraught that Lord Siva restores Daksha`s life and gives him the head of a goat.

Sati is overcome with grief and commits suicide by jumping into a fire. Out of love for Sathi, Lord Siva gives her rebirth as his second wife, Parvati

 

CAST

KING DAKSHA – KALAMANDALAM BALASUBRAMANIAN

SATI – KALAMANDALAM VIJAYAKUMAR

SIVA – KALAMANDALAM KUTTY KRISHNAN

VHIRABHADRA- KALAMANDALAM SOMAN

BHADRAKALI – KOTTAKAL DEVADASAN

SINGER – KALAMANDALAM MOHANKRISHNAN

SINGER – KALAMANDALAM RAJENDRAN

CHENDA – KALAMANDALAM KRISHNADAS

MADALAM – KALAMANDALAM MANOJ KUMAR

CHUTTI – KALAMANDALAM BARBARA VIJAYAKUMAR

COSTUMES – KALA CHETHENA RAJAN

TECHNICAL – MARCUS VENTHAM

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