The Natyasatra composed by Bharata in the 2nd century Before Common Era suggests a flourishing theatre/dance scenario in that time. Bharata’s disciples Kohala. Dattila and others kept up this tradition. Eminent playwrights like Bhasa, Kalidasa, Sudraka and Sriharsha visualized the stage and composed dramas accordingly. In short, the period from 4th century B.C.E. to 6th century Common Era, was the ‘golden age’ for Sanskrit theatre. This was followed by a period of snag nation. It showed the signs of steady decline in the middle from the 11th century C.E, caused mainly by the development of regional forms and languages.

Justifying the saying “naatakaantam, kavitvam” Drama is the ultimate in poetry. It is commonly held thatSanskrit Dramas were written to be read rather than to be performed on the stage. They were subjected mainly to literary criticism, applying the principles of ‘rasa’ and ‘dhvani’ rather than to criticisms of stage performance.

This raises two questions. Are the poetic modes of expression we find in Sanskrit Dramas,especially the ‘slokas’, capable of successful presentation on the stage? Caqn we express the various literary embellishments, ‘alankaras’, like simile, ‘upama’, metaphor, ‘utpreksha’, exaggeration, ‘atishayokti’, elaboration, ‘varnanas’, multiple meanings, ‘slesha’, and implied and remote ideas, ‘dhvani’, within the Limitations of the dramatic medium of expression?

Sri. Harsha, ‘Subhadraadhananjayam’ and ‘Tapatisam varanam’ of Kulasekharavarman and ‘Mattavilaasa Prahasanam’ of Mahendra Vikrama Pallavan. The Koodiyaattom repertory also includes Saktibhadran’s ‘Aascharyachoodaamoni’, Neelakantan’s (or Mahendra Vikrama Pallavan’s) ‘Bhagavadajjukiyam’.

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