Saturday, 28 July 2012

Kathakali, The Dance Of Kerala

Enough fishing, cruising and living off the land. Time to check out one of Kerala's highlights: theater.  Kathakali is an elaborate, all-night ritualized temple theater/dance performance. Lasting from 10 pm or so until dawn, the show is about gods and demons and always features certain stock characters.

Part opera, part actor sign language, the dances are propelled by trance-like drumming, hand gestures and sophisticated facial expressions. There's no actual dialogue or singing so pantomime is the method of communication.

The main character of the dance and often the hero, a green "Pacca." The makeup takes hours to apply - with the actor lying down for most of it - and always includes the green design, complete with fanciful white appliance. Another actor getting ready backstage, looking vintage Bollywood.

The show.


A couple more of the grand characters, each representing a certain type. Men play women's roles.

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