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Kathakali makes Christian debut

Last updated: 16 July, 2011
Kochi, Jul 16 (PTI) 16:47 IST

After enthralling audiences for centuries with its undulating adaptation of Hindu folklore, Kerala's classical dance-drama, Kathakali, is all set to make its 'Christian debut' in the Catholic church premises here.

Kathakali, considered one of the oldest theatre forms of the world, is traditionally based on themes derived from Hindu epics Ramayana, Mahabaratha and other myths and legends of Hinduism.

For the first time, the classical dance will recreate through its well-defined 'mudras' the message and essence of the Holy Eucharist (Qurbana). The 90-minute performance titled 'Divyakarunyacharitam' (Story of Holy Eucharist), based on the poem 'Ithu Ninakkai' (This is given up for you) written by famous Christian lyricist Father Joy Chencheril, will be performed at Pastoral Orientation Centre here on July 21.

Chencheril said that the recital, based on the 'Last Supper of Christ', will portray the message of the "eucharastic love shown by Christ." "Performances will also be held in Kannur, Chenganassery, Pala and various other parts of Kerala before being staged at Delhi in January 2012," he said.

The Christian version will adhere to the original form with regard to costumes and presentation but Malayalam would replace Sanskrit shlokas and Christ would don the costume of a Rishi (sage), said the priest. Traditional Kathakali artistes from Kalamandalam will represent the eight characters included in the presentation. "Through this presentation, we hope Kathakali too will find a place in Church premises, now dominated by cinematic dances and mimics during festivals," said Chencheril.

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