Actor's imagination: Kutiyattam and Natyasastra

Madhavan, Arya (2015) Actor's imagination: Kutiyattam and Natyasastra. In: The Natyasastra and the body in performance: essays on Indian theories of dance and drama. McFarland, North Carolina. ISBN 9780786471782

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This chapter focuses on exploring the approach to the actor’s imagination from the perspective of Kutiyattam and the training that facilitates such treatment of the actor’s imagination in the context of the Natyasastra.

The body is a transformational tool during the performance. Various geometrical and kinetic movements of the eyes, hands, and the rest of the limbs create a fictional space, particularly in a Kutiyattam context. When the actor technically moves his eyes from left to right, what the audience see is a riverbank or a village square or the scared face of a character. When the actor lowers his lips and curls up his eyebrows, the audience experience sadness. When the kinetic, physical movements take place in a performance, the audience willingly perceives an animal or an emotion or certain actions of a character, experiencing aesthetic pleasure or rasa; or the audience will only see the horizontal pattern of the eyes and not a riverbank or a fearful face. Bodily techniques transform into a performative experience through an imaginary journey that is shared between the actor and the audience. The empirical reality and the existence of a body with organs (the actor’s body) are completely displaced in such transformation. The actor embodies fiction in all senses, which only exists within the imaginary domain of the audience. The performance and its subsequent experience only exist within the imagination of the actor as well as that of the audience. This essay examines the nature and function of the actor's imagination in a Kutiyattam performance and the specific performance techniques that facilitate the transformational experience in performance.

Keywords:Imagination, Indian Theatre, Kutiyattam, The Natyasastra
Subjects:T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T300 South Asian studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
W Creative Arts and Design > W410 Acting
W Creative Arts and Design > W520 Body Awareness
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T490 Other Asian studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
Relation typeTarget identifier
ID Code:7370
Deposited On:30 Jan 2013 17:28

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