Adishakti’s Brhannala draws on the episode in the Mahabharata in which the exiled hero Arjuna spends one year in the guise of a woman.
The play dramatizes the consequences that accompany the dissolution of all rigid binary oppositions; bringing down thereby all polarities of time/space, reason/emotion, human/animal, right/left, us/them, self/other.
Certain clues from the Mahabharata, meanings/symbols in Arjuna’s numerous names and certain of his natural traits led us to such an interpretation.
Arjuna /Brhannala relates to Siva as Ardhanariswara– the Lord who is a half woman and half man. Both Brahnnala and Ardhnarishwara are great dancers, both combine feminine and masculine elements, both have extremely erotic natures, but can be ascetics.
Contemporary brain liberalization theories develop this further, when they talk of the right hand as the male and the left hand as the female, and divide functions, capacities and processes of knowledge to different sides of the brain- right and left.