Draupadi a play in Malayalam that tells the story of womanhood will be performed at Govt Sankrit College Tripunithura, at 7.00 pm on 27th of February 2013, as part of The Kulasekhara National Theatre Festival – Natyasastra and Living Traditions, organised by Govt. Sankrit College Tripunithura, Chinmaya International Sodh Sansthan Veliyanadu, and International Centre for Kutiyattam, Tripunithua. The festival is February 24th to March 02nd
This play analyses the relationship between a contemporary girl, living in an Indian town with the epic character Draupadi. It searches into the many layers of complexity by which the motif of Draupadi lives in the psyche of Indian women and also the reality of her life.
This performative analysis makes use the novels Yajnaseni written by Prathibha Ray, Ini njan urangatte by PK Balakrishnan, Randamoozhamby MT Vasudevan Nair, the critical studies Bharathaparyadanam by Kuttikrishna Marar, and Women of Mahabharata by Chaturvedi Badrinath.
Draupadi is wedded to five great men who are embodiments of all virtues, and is the love of Krishna, the universal lover. So it seems logical that she might have been the happiest lady on earth. The play looks into reality. In fact all her husbands have their own priorities and perception about Draupadi’s life; none of them acknowledged her individuality and self, her potential/needs as a human being, or even her sexuality. She was just another pawn in the game of politics, and has to sacrifice her ideals, dreams, and life itself for the men who mattered to her. The play looks into these aspects transports the experience of Draupadi transcending through the ages to the life and conditioning of a contemporary girl.
Draupadi is a woman of acute understanding and wisdom, very well aware of her circumstances. She opts to keep silent and go through whatever comes her way with the understanding that it was unjust and that she deserved better. Even when she rebelled against the odds in her own individual ways, she was not all that empowered to break out of the constraints that bound her and abandon the people who she believed were her family. This is where she becomes the representative of the contemporary Indian woman who is aware but also tied into the archetypes of family and morality fed into her by the collective conscience of her roots.
The performance structure is fluid in its narrative; the actors are performers as well as characters, shifting from one persona to the other. The role of Arjuna and Krishna are enacted by one actor, and that of Yudhishthira, Bhima and Dussasana by another actor. In between they transform to stage hands, narrators, puppeteers, and musicians so as to take the performance dynamics ahead and are in tune with the tradition of Indian theatre.
The play uses paintings, music, movement, puppets, props and lights to enhance performance and is in tune with the mode and aesthetics of Indian art.
The artists who participate in this performance are Sukanya Shaji, VR Selvaraj. Shaiju T Hamza /Adithye K Narayanan, Latif Ceepee, Charu Narayanan, Jolly Antony, Kishore NK, Shobha Menon Srikanth, Dr. Terry Converse, (USA) and Madan Kolavil.
This is the 3rd Show of Draupadi, the second one being at Amritsar, Punjab.
Photographs : Terry Converse, Shobha Menon, & Jipson Fourframes.