Kudiyattam, probably the oldest living continuous theater tradition in the world, is a traditional art form of Kerala and the last surviving form of classical Sanskrit drama. It blends powerful aesthetic and poetic means with ritual and philosophical elements, and with creative improvisation. In 2001, Kudiyattam was officially recognized by UNESCO as a ‘masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity’. We are proud to present a full-scale performance of Toranayuddham, one of the masterpieces of this tradition, taking place over 6 nights (3 to 4 hours each night). To witness a complete Kudiyattam performance is by now a rare event that produces an aesthetic climax without parallel in artistic experience.
This performance is by the Nepathya troupe – one of the prime centers of Kudiyattam since 1998. Nepathya focuses on the teaching, performance and preservation of the traditional format. It plays a key role in reviving this ancient art form and making it accessible to audiences outside of Kerala. Margi Madhu, the son of Kochukuttan Chakyar and a pupil of Ammannur Madhava Chakyar (who were masters of the art in the twentieth century), leads this troupe together with his wife, Dr. G. Indu. The Nepathya artists have performed in Japan, Israel, Singapore, Italy, Germany, France, England, and the United States.