Biennale Chavittunatakam fest to stage Hindu story for first time

The ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) will facilitate Chavittunatakam — India’s only traditional maritime theatre — turn a new chapter this week by staging a Hindu-mythologystory for the first time in its five-century-old history as a Christian art form from Kerala.  The KMB’14 Chavittunatakam festival beginning a day after Christmas will have all its five plays backed by lyrics in Malayalam instead of the customary Tamil mixed with the state’s language.

To be held in Gothuruthu near Paravur 22 km north of this city, the December 26-30 ‘Chuvati’ festival will stage ‘SabarimalaSree Dharma Shastavu’ on the opening evening, portraying the life of Lord Ayyappa who the Puranas refer as the child of pivotal Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu. The fete being organised in association with Gothuruthu Sports and Arts Club will be inaugurated by veteran Mohiniyattam danseuse Kalamandalam Sathyabhama and Chhau exponent Gopal Prasad Dubey at Kadalvathuruthu Holy Cross ChinnathambiAnnavi Square at 7 pm.The function will be addressed by former Kerala Culture Minister M A Baby, Hibi Eden MLA, Kottappuram Bishop Rev Dr Joseph Karikkassery and Cochin Shipyard General Manager M D Varghese.

‘Chuvati’ will stage plays by cultural organisations in Ernakulam district, among which ‘SabarimalaSree Dharma Shastavu’ (directed by Joseph Salim) is being presented by Kerala Chavittunataka Academy, Gothuruthu. The stories in the following days are ‘Plorippus’ (Cochin ChavittunatakaKalari, Fort Kochi), ‘VisuddhaSebastionos’ (Kurumbathuruthu Yuvakerala Kalasamithi), ‘Jnanakumaran’ (Thruthipuram Chaithanya Theatres) and ‘Judith’ (Thuruthipuram Navarathna Kalasamskarika Vedi).

‘Keli’ Ramachandran, who is the curator of KMB’14 performing arts festival spanning four months, said the aim of organising Chuvati was to unveil the antiquity and charm of Chavittunatakam which has medieval moorings. “The effort is to also expand the repertoire of this Latin Catholic folk art even while conserving its heritage that has evolved along a strip of coastal Kerala—particularly in Gothuruthu,” he noted, expressing gratitude that the biennale has extended critical support to the momentous endeavour.

Riyas Komu, the director of programmes of KMB’14, said KMB lends focus to explore Kerala’s indigenous cultural traditions by throwing light on local myths and history. “We will continue with similar collaborations in areas that are academic and performance-related. Gothuruthu is a special experience as our biennale has already touched the heart of its people,” he added.
Believed to have originated in the 16th century after the arrival of Portuguese on the Malabar Coast, Chavittunatakam which traces its pioneer to missionary ChinnathambiAnnavi has borrowed its aesthetics and costumes from European ballet.

Biennale Chavittunatakam fest to stage Hindu story for first time Biennale Chavittunatakam fest to stage Hindu story for first time Reviewed by Welcome Kerala on 11:56:00 Rating: 5

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