Saturday 7th, September 2013 – India International Centre
The Lecture: Learning from Performance: Epic Narratives in the Regional Traditions of South India. We all know that narrative changes as it moves from page to stage, but what kinds of influences, conventions, and concerns shape narrative when it comes from texts such as the Ramayana? How do the conventions of particular theatrical genres shape the ways in which epic incidents get enacted and interpreted? Which characters come to life most vividly in dance-dramas in open air theatres, puppet plays, or proscenium stages? Which incidents seem dated or out of date and which ones continue to speak to spectators today? This talk reflects on the fixed and fluid aspects of enacting epic incidents in India today, with examples drawn from Yakshagana (Karnataka), Kattaikkuttu (Tamilnadu), Nangiar Kuttu (Kerala), and Ramlila (north and central India).
Paula Richman discussed the Ramayana stories as represented in the South Indian traditions of Kattaikoothu, Nangiar Koothu, and Yakshagana. Prof Richman’s scintillating presentation was matched by Prof. Rustom Bharucha‘s insightful intervention as Chair. This event offered us a fine illustration of a LILA Lecture programme: the speaker is introduced in terms of her core strengths, the lecture is presented in the context of her work in its continuity, and in relevant terms as a LILA event.