India Foundation for the Arts (IFA)
Akshayambara - A theatrical exploration of gender in Yakshagana
Duration: 90 minutes | Language: Kannada with English supertitles
Directed by Sharanya Ramprakash
Sharanya Ramprakash and Prasad Cherkady
Rathnakara Shenoy on the maddale, Krishnamurthi Bhat on the chende
and vocalist Subrahmanya Prasad
Esplanade's Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts
November 17 and 18, 2018 | 06:00 PM | Esplanade Annexe Studio
No 1 Esplanade Drive, Singapore 038981
We are delighted to announce our return to Singapore this year! India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is partnering with the Esplanade to showcase the IFA supported production Akshayambara - A theatrical exploration of gender in Yakshagana at the Kalaa Utsavam - Indian Festival of Arts at Esplanade Annexe Studio at 06:00 PM on Saturday, November 17 and Sunday, November 18, 2018.
What happens when roles are reversed in a male-dominated theatre practice like Yakshagana?
Take a sneak peek in a clip of the performance below!
Join us for a performance of Akshayambara by Dramanon, Bangalore. Directed by IFA grantee and theatre practitioner, Sharanya Ramprakash, the experimental play seeks to explore the conflicts around tradition, gender, power, and morality inherent in the form of Yakshagana.
Drawing from research and personal experience, the performance imagines a reversal of roles in the popular Yakshagana plot of 'Draupadi Vastrapaharana'. A male artist in streevesha (female costume) plays the virtuous Draupadi and espouses the cause of women, while in a tradition-defying move, a woman is attired in the pradhana purusha vesha (masculine form) of Kaurava (a legendary king from the Mahabharata) who is driven by lust and power.
What happens to the interpretation and performance of gender when a man plays a woman and when a man is played by a woman? Who is the real woman and who is the real man? We see a constant shift in power between the actors, as they shift from the cauki (green room) to stage, engaged in a tussle that blurs the boundaries of stage and reality and male and female.
Sharanya is a stage actor, director and one of the founders of Dramanon, Bangalore. Over the last eight years, she has directed six full-length productions that have had more than 75 shows in various venues across the country. She received the Inlaks Theatre Award 2014 through which she trained at the Udupi Yakshagana Kendra under the tutelage of Guru Sanjeeva Suvarna. She received a grant from India Foundation for the Arts, under the Arts Practice Programme in 2015.
This performance was made possible by a grant from India Foundation for the Arts, with part support from Voltas Limited.
The play was nominated under several categories at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) 2016 and won awards for Best Original Script (Sharanya Ramprakash) and the Best Actor in a Lead Role - Male (Prasad Cherkady).