Karnatic Kattaikkuttu is an experimental production in which two equally complex performing art forms, “classical” Karnatic concert music and “folk” Kattaikkuttu theatre, collaborate on an equal footing. Through their collaboration the artists explore what both forms share, where they differ and how they “speak” to and with each other.
The production was conceptualized by well-known Karnatic vocalists T.M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar and Kattaikkuttu actor Perungattur P. Rajagopal and scholar Hanne M. de Bruin. Karnatic Kattaikkuttu premiered in Mumbai in December 2017 under the auspices of First Edition Arts.
Normally Karnatic and Kattaikkuttu are situated at opposite ends of a spectrum that divides the Indian performing arts into “classic(al)” and “folk”. This distinction appears to be social and political rather than artistic. Using music, language and acting, the production addresses the blindness that prevents people, entrenched within their own cultural, social and political ghettoes, from experiencing an art form, any art form, with an open mind (to listen to a discussion of the making of Karnatic Kattaikkuttu click here).
The calendar of upcoming performance dates can be found on the Home page.
Other New Plays
P. Rajagopal’s innovative all-night plays Pancha Bhutam (Five Elements, 1992), Veriyattam allatu Tantira Kuratti (Possession or the Gypsy’s Ruse, 1994), and a Mahabharata production featuring 60 actors and actresses of the Kattaikkuttu Sangam (1998). In 2011 he adapted the all-night play Abhimanyu for the Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals Company.
His Tamil short plays Parkadal or Milky Ocean (2002), Vituttal or Deliverance (2007), which is an adaptation for the Tamil stage of a Rabindranath Tagore play, and RamaRavana (2011) were published by Kalachuvadu in 2014.
Plays for Children
The complex Mahabharata stories are not always easy to understand for young children. This inspired Rajagopal to write two children’s plays, Vilayattin Vilaivu or War Games, 1991 and Mayakkutirai Magic Horse (1997). These two plays speak to the fantasy of children. They often are the first plays that young students at the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam learn to perform.