Inside The Drama-House

Inside The Drama-House

by Stuart Blackburn
     
 

Stuart Blackburn takes the reader inside a little-known form of shadow puppetry in this captivating work about performing the Tamil version of the Ramayana epic. Blackburn describes the skill and physical stamina of the puppeteers in Kerala state in South
India as they perform all night for as many as ten weeks during the festival season. The fact that these

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Overview

Stuart Blackburn takes the reader inside a little-known form of shadow puppetry in this captivating work about performing the Tamil version of the Ramayana epic. Blackburn describes the skill and physical stamina of the puppeteers in Kerala state in South
India as they perform all night for as many as ten weeks during the festival season. The fact that these performances often take place without an audience forms the starting point for Blackburn's discussion—one which explores not only this important epic tale and its performance, but also the broader theoretical issues of text, interpretation, and audience.

Blackburn demonstrates how the performers adapt the narrative and add their own commentary to re-create the story from a folk perspective. At a time when the Rama story is used to mobilize political movements in
India, the puppeteers' elaborate recitation and commentary presents this controversial tale from another ethical perspective, one that advocates moral reciprocity and balance.

While the study of folk narrative has until now focused on tales, tellers, and tellings, this work explores the importance of audience—absent or otherwise. Blackburn's elegant translations of the most dramatic and pivotal sequences of the story enhance our appreciation of this unique example of performance art.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520202061
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
05/28/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
308
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
A Note on Transliteration
Maps
Ch. 1An Absent Audience1
Ch. 2Rama Stories and Puppet Plays22
Ch. 3Ambivalent Accommodations: Bhakti and Folk Hinduism39
Ch. 4The Death of Sambukumaran: Kama and Its Defense59
Ch. 5Killing Vali: Rama's Confession79
Ch. 6Ravana's First Defeat: The Puppeteers' Oral Commentary95
Ch. 7The Death of Indrajit: Creating Conversations134
Ch. 8Rama's Coronation: The Limits of Restoration194
Appendix A: Three Samples of the Puppeteers' Commentary in Transliteration241
Appendix B: Sample Commentary in Tamil Script243
Appendix C: Main Characters in the Puppeteers' Rama Story244
Notes247
Glossary267
Bibliography271
Index287

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