Today we thought we’d check out a Kathakali performance, which is a very traditional form of art in Kerala. Kathakali as an art form that began when Shakespear was writing plays. It is basically a play but there are very few words and you get all of your understanding of what is going on through the actors movements, facial expressions, and especially eye movements.
We arrived in time to see the actors prepare for the performance, which is watching them but on very detailed face make-up (it took about an hour), all of the brightly colored make up they use is all natural from different colored rocks.
The performance started with a demonstration of some of the many typical movements and expressions and what they meant, so we had a general idea of what would be going on during the play, this was very helpful and informative!
The actual play started and we were really impressed by the skill of the actors and how professional the performance was (we were expecting something much more cheesy), apparently the actors train for 6 years and the accompanying drumers and singer for 4 years.
It was very well done and we were glad we went. The play was about a king who was trying to seduce a queen, finally he won her over and then he turned violent, then she went for help to the guy next in line to be the king and help she got becase that guy killed the king…and that was the end…very dramatic. At many Hindu festivals around India you can watch all-night Kathakali performances, ours was an hour and a half.