Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Second Edition of Malayala Nadaka Sthree Charithram Coming soon!!!
HIRUVANATHAPURAM: A unique book studying the presence of women in Malayalam theatre, ‘Malayala Nadaka Sthree Charithram’ written by renowned theatre personality Sajitha Madathil, and published by Mathrubhumi, will be released by Margi Sathi on Friday. The silence of the mainstream histories on this, despite women being active in the area for over a century, was the immediate provocation for writing the book. The studies in this book are a part of studies and researches that were carried out for many years with support from the School of Letters, Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Kendra Sangeetha Nataka Academy. Sajitha, in the book, cites many famous plays like ‘Akjaathavaasam’ by Kuttikkunju Thangachi, ‘Saavithri Athavaa Vidhavaavivaaham’ by Lalithambika Antharjanam, ‘Devadoothi’ by B Saraswthiyamma or ‘Madhavivarma’ by Madhavikkutti, which were published, but were not featured, in Malayalam theatre history. ‘’This absence clearly points to the fact that the present methodologies are insufficient to write a history of women in the Malayalam theatre. To evaluate the written histories in a critical perspective and second, we have to write another history of the participation of women that is concealed in the same history. This book travels in both these directions,’’ said Sajitha. This journey starts with an enquiry into the early women-performing arts which preceded the emergence of Malayalam theatre. Women have been important participants of folk, classical and ritual art forms in diverse forms in Kerala. The ways in which women were later excluded from these art forms and the ways in which the participation of women is still being avoided in many art forms are also discussed. The book also contains an analysis of one of the most important parts of women’s interventions in the public space, performing on stage, done by women like Akkamma Cheriyan in that period. The ‘reform plays’ of the first half of the twentieth century are considered as the ones which foregrounded the ‘women’s agenda’ for the first time. The book is a re-reading of these plays for understanding the limitations of this agenda. It discusses two plays written by women contemporaries which were forgotten by history.