(the anguish of Karnna)
and Direction : Chandradasan
by Bhasa (500 BC)
Kavalam Narayana Panikker
Music : Ramesh Varma
Light Design: Jayakumar
Duration of the play: 55 mts.
play projects the mortal anguish of a man unsure of his identity. Karnna
the protagonist is heroic and pathetic at the same time as he tries
to find his place between the mocking and adulation of social forces
on one side and the taunting challenges of fate on the other.
of the play takes it beyond reality, beyond caricature of farce into
a realm that transcends the space and time and gets related to the social
realities of today. Karna lingers in one’s consciousness as the
symbol of Universal man in search of his own self-the ultimate dilemma
synthesizes traditional forms, like Koodiyattam, Kadhakali, Kalarippayattu,
Padayani, Sopanasageetham etc., to form a modern theatrical idiom in
harmony with the cultural heritage of the land. This is the result of
the search for an indigenous Indian theatre. The style of acting, movement
pattern and choreography, music and costumes are thus, modern and at
the same time traditional. A unique lighting is used to add to the theatrical
ecstasy. It is an actors play which breaks away from set patterns.
The time and
space of action is from the eleventh day in the warfield of Mahabharatha.
to the Indian theatre tradition, the play starts with Nandi of the Suthradhara
which is interrupted by sound echoed from the war. A warrior from Duryodhana
calls Karna to fight for his side as Bhishma has fallen.
warrior Karna, the son of Soorya is seen distributed and depressed in
the warfield instead of being mighty and powerful. The play analyses
He is worried
of his birth, his caste and his social status. Whether he is the son
of Kunthy and Soorya, or Radha and Sutha? The mockery and adulation
of the society moulds his person and fate. For a while he is moved by
the meaninglessness of the war where men kill each other. He says that
irrespective of his win or loss, war is a real waste. This vision adds
to his turbulence.
Salyar about the curse given by his Guru, Parasurama. This episode is
inacted by correlating the narration of the present with the inacting
of the past. The astra advised by Parasurama is found power less at
the needed hour.
of Indra disguised as a Brahmin, follows, who cunningly takes away the
divine Kavacha and kundala from Karnna. He understands that the whole
plot is master minded by the Shrewd Krishna and accepts his fate in
return a messenger from Indra offers a powerful weapon Vimala which
can destroy one among the pandavas. Karna is not willing to accept a
return for his generosity. But he messenger insists ’This is the
word of a Brahmin’ which Karna accept.
the challenge from Arjuna and Krishna the revitalized Karna proceed
to this ultimate fate heroically. Thus ends Bhasa’s play Karnabharan.