Karnatic Kattaikkuttu comes full circle with a concert at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum). This is the first-ever collaboration between two distinct art forms: Karnatik music, the classical music of South India, and Kattaikkuttu, a Tamil language-based, the physical and vocal form of rural open-air ensemble theatre with an inherent capacity for comedy and comment. Nowadays these two forms occupy opposite ends of a spectrum that divides the Indian performing arts into “classical” and “folk”.
This unique collaboration was initiated and conceptualized by legendary Kattaikkuttu actor, playwright and director Perungattur P. Rajagopal and his wife Hanne M. de Bruin (performing arts scholar, dramaturg & costume designer) and the well-known Karnatic musicians T.M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar.
Karnatic Kattaikkuttu is an experimental production in which Karnatic concert music and Kattaikkuttu theatre collaborate on an equal footing. The production explores what both forms share, where they differ and how they “speak” to and with each other. In an exhilarating exchange of repertoire elements, Karnatic and Kattaikkuttu performers present excerpts from two all-night plays, Disrobing of Draupadi and The Eighteenth Day.
T.M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar will be accompanied by the Karnatic musicians Akkarai Subhalakshmi, (violin) K. Arun Prakash (mridangam) and S. Krishna (ghatam). In addition to P. Rajagopal in the role of Duryodhana on the last day of the Mahabharata war, the Kattaikkuttu cast features actor-singers S. Tamilarasi (Draupadi), R. Devan (Duhsasana), R. Kumar (Duryodhana), M. Duraisamy (1st Kattiyakkaran), A. Kailasam (2nd Kattiyakkaran), A. Bharati (Vikarna), S. Srimathy (Karna), S. Haribabu (Sakuni), S. Gobinath (talam), R. Balaji (harmonium), A. Selvarasu (mridangam & dholak) and P. Sasikumar (mukavinai).