The Stories from Mahabharata is an Indian classical dance-theatre in Kathakali style, which will start from 9 PM on the Main Stage of the National Theatre of Hungary, Budapest. The performance will last 7 and half hours so it will end at 5:30 AM on the 27th at sunrise. The performance will be followed by the Kelikottu, the traditional sun salutation ritual, in which the Kathakali drummers will give a short concert (with a small breakfast) and the musicians will present a song to greet Surya, the ancient sun god of Hindu mythology.
„What has not been presented in this piece, you would seek in vain in the triple world!” – one can read in the original commendation of the ancient Indian epic. Ervin Baktay, the creator of the shortened Hungarian version, says: „if we only knew Mahabharata about the past of India, it would be enough to reconstruct the ancient Hindu mythology, religion, world view, philosophy, intelligence, habits and art.”
Originally from Kerala, the verdant region of South-West India, Kathakali had distilled the juices of a multiform culture of performing and ritual practices until it was organized in its final and current shape around the middle of the 17th century.
The sumptuous combinations and display of make-ups and costumes, the hypnotic and extremely refined vocal and percussive music, combined with the legendary technical training of its actors, place this art at the top of the world theatre.
For the first time in Hungary, the spectators can experience a full, traditional Kathakali night. Not only a performance, but (followed by chai tea and samosa) it is a little piece of India that the artists conjure here. Sadaanam Krishnankutty, one of the most significant representatives of Kathakali today, participates in the production.
25 May 2023, Thursday, 6 PM, Kaszás Attila Stage (National Theatre of Hungary, Budapest)
Raja of Kottarakkara
An informative presentation about the myth and the poetry of the Indian Kathakali dance theatre Tiziana Barbiero, a founder member of the Teatro tascabile di Bergamo, will present the genre of Kathakali with the participation of the main actors, Kalamandalam John and Sadanam Krishnankutty, and the musicians.
26 May 2023, Friday, 5PM, First floor lobby (National Theatre of Hungary, Budapest)
The audience will be able to follow live the process of mask painting and dressing up of Kathakali actors until 20:30 in the so-called "Green room".
Dr. Kalamandalam John: the founder and director of Kalatharangini Kathakali School
Born in Kerala in 1955, K.M. John had nine years of rigorous training – eight hours a day – in Kathakali, at Kerala Kalamandalam, under Guru (professor) C. Padmanabhan Nair and Vijayakumar. He studied Sanskrit and Kathakali literature taught by Prof. Unnikrishnan Elayadu.
In 1977, he was awarded the A.D. Bolland Gold Medal for the best Kathakali student. In 1978, he was awarded the Government of India Scholarship. Since completing his course, he has been working as a teacher of both foreign and Indian students in Kerala Kalamandalam. As a member of the Kalamandalam troupe, he has toured all over India and abroad.