Udupi, Sep 27, 2016: Professional artistes from a Mumbai-based theatre company, ’Fats TheArts’, have been receiving intensive training in Yakshagana at the Yakshagana Kendra Udupi. The aim of the intensive week-long training is to incorporate some elements of Yakshagana in an English play Shikhandi to be produced by the theatre group.
The play will revolve around the character of Shikhandi in the Mahabharata. Faezeh Jalali, head of the theatre group, who is also an actor and director, said that she wanted to incorporate the physical form of Yakshagana in the English play.
“Yakshagana artistes perform both masculine and feminine characteristics with elan. I want my artistes to get a grounding in our traditional art form. In our play, we want to use mythology to question the present day gender stereotypes,” she said. Director Jalali has herself written the play which is expected to be staged in the early part of 2017. For the artistes from Mumbai, it has been a new experience to learn Yakshagana.
They are all praise for the training given by Yakshagana guru, Bannanje Sanjeeva Suvarna, Principal of Yakshagana Kendra, and his team of teachers. Srishti Shrivastava, a product of Drama School, Mumbai, said that the training was exceptionally good. “We are lucky to get the guidance of principal Suvarna,” she said.
Another artiste Mahnaz Damania, who has been an actor for five years, said that learning the steps of Yakshagana was exceedingly difficult, yet at the same time, was beautiful and attractive. “We have realized that Indian dance movements are grounded,” she said.
For Kartavya, another artiste, learning Yakshagana was challenging. “I am intimidated by Yakshagana. It is physically and vocally challenging. Yet it is most captivating,” he said.
Principal Suvarna said that since they were professional artistes, they were good at picking up Yakshagana. Though the duration of training was short, they were doing their best in grasping basics in the given time, he said.