For the first time, Delhi will have a chance to see a full night performance of Yakshagana, a theatre form that combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up and stage techniques with a unique style and form which is popular in South Kanara and adjacent areas of coastal Karnataka.
Yakshagana has been traditionally performed from dusk to dawn, but recently, it has been reduced to a three hour performance.
However, a few troupes supported by temples are still performing full night Yakshagana, and the performance is popular among the farming community.
The South Kanara Club, based in Delhi and the Tenkutittu Yakshagana in association with local organisations in the capital, will be organising a full night of Yakshagana, at the Delhi Karnataka Sangha auditorium on July 11.
The performance will begin at 9.30 pm and conclude at 6 am next morning.
They will perform the Devi Mahatme, or the Magnanimity of the Goddess, which describes the victory of Goddess Durga over various demons, including Chanda, Munda, Mahishasura, Raktabija, Shumbha and Nishumbha.
Devi Mahatme is one of the most popular Yakshaganas watched by millions of people over the years. According to a study, more than 100,000 performances have been carried out and 16,000 performances have already been booked in advance for the next ten years.
This is an amazing story of an Indian theatre form which is not only vibrant, but very influential in the religious and social life of coastal Karnataka.
Devi Mahatmte is seen as an attempt to unify the Vedic male pantheon with the pre-existing mother goddess cult possibly dating to the 9th century BC and an attempt to define divinity as a female principle.
The Yakshagana text synthesises a number of pre-existing mother goddess, namely Chamundi, Kali, Durga and Sapta Matrikas myths into a single narrative, which has been crystallised and beautifully presented by the artists. Various colours, headgears, costumes and dancing styles make this episode very unique.
Among the artists participating in the Devi Mahatme in the capital are Bhagawatas, Shri Balipa Narayana Bhagawata, Patla Sathish Shetty and Prafulla Chandra Nelyadi. Chende and Maddale, a unique form of drum beat, will be provided by Shri Delanthamajalu Subramanya Bhat, Padmanabha Upadhya, Krishnaprakash Ullittaya and Mijar Devananda Bhat, and the Chakratala will be provided by: Poornesh Acharya. Near forty actors would be arriving in Delhi to perform the various roles of the Devi Mahatme.
The event is expected to be a landmark in Delhi's cultural history.