| Yakshagana is a great folk art performed only
in some parts of state Karnataka in india. The yakshagana is
especially popular in Shimoga, Chickmaglore and Karaavali districts
This is the only art in the world which is performed all
over the night. Even though the time limited plays have come
to existance, still the overnight show is popular among the
Yakshagana is a play which involves both dance and dialogues.
This is the speciality of the Yakshagana that the dialogues
are not written prior to the play. The Bhagavatha who sings
the songs for the play is the coordinator of the play. The
actors dance for the song and elaborate the meaning of the
song later. While delivering the speech they use their own
vocabulary and have freedom to give their own dimension to
the characters of the play.
Usually the play involves the stories of Gods and other ethnical
characters. Most of the plays are the stories of the Indian
Puranas like Ramayana and Mahabharatha. It will take three
to four hours to makeup the actor with all kinds of powders,
lipsticks and moustaches. The actors wear specially designed
blinking fabrics of all colour combinations.
The play starts with the worship of God in the green room
after which the Bhagavatha and his troup of background music
will come to the stage. The two musical insturments Mrudangam
and Chande makes the heart of the music in Yakshagana. The
players will dance to the rhythem of these two instruments
which will be guided by the Thala of the Bhagavatha
The play starts on the stage with the arrival of Kodangi
character (A monkey role!) which might have used to lit the
oil lamps which were the only sources of light in the night
of olden days. Two sthree Veshas (lady characters) will appear
at the stage to sonnet the God then. This might be because
of the Hindu traddition of starting big events by having women
at the front as a sign of prosperity.
Next part is Oddolaga. Any king who comes in the play would
shows up himself and displays and describes his power.
The real story starts after all these formalities. Actors
dance and act according to the Bhagavatha's song and narrate
the lyrics with their own words and ideas. The play starts
thus and finishes in the morning.