Kathakali: A Theatrical Play Combining Dance, Drama, and Religion.

Category: Hinduism, Philosophy
Last Updated: 31 Mar 2023
Pages: 2 Views: 879

Kathakali is a form of theatrical play that incorporates dance and drama in its presentation. It originated from the Kerala in the southern part of India. Kathakali combines five essentials of art, such as expressions (stressing the importance of facial expression), dance (rhythmical movements of the hands, legs, and body), enactment (giving emphasis to hand movements), song or vocal accompaniment, and finally instrument accompaniment. Most Kathakali plays utilize the local language which is Malayalam. (Wikipedia, 2007)

Performances are based from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Kathakali is said to be the study of performance art as a combination of religion, philosophy, and psychology, and not of religion as a performance art because it assimilates elements from each aspect, that is religion, philosophy and psychology, and perform it in an artistic fashion. To illustrate, the most popular theme of Kathakali plays are based on stories of Krishna (such as Bhagavata Purana). (Ancient Worlds, 2005)

Krishna, as we all know, is considered as a divine being, worshipped around the world by people who practice Hindu traditions, in particular, Hinduism (Wikipedia, 2007). The story of Krishna in Bhagavata Purana contains principles and beliefs that are the bases of religion, specifically Hinduism, and its philosophical foundation. The goal of performance art, in general, is to capture the mind of its audience.

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The success of each performance is based on the responses of the members of the audience. In the psychological aspect, Kathakali makes use of facial expressions to captivate the soul of the audience. Kathakali artists establish a connection with their audience through their theatrical methods and techniques. Another form of performance art, however, ancient in nature, is Kutiyattam. It is safe to say that the foundation of Kathakali in terms of religious, philosophical, and psychological aspect also applies to Kutiyattam because Kathakali is said to have originated from it.


  • Ancient Worlds, (2005) Kathakali. Retrieved November 24, 2007, from Ancient Worlds LLC.
  • Wikipedia. (2007) Kathakali. Retrieved November 24, 2007, from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
  • Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathakal

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Kathakali: A Theatrical Play Combining Dance, Drama, and Religion.. (2017, Feb 28). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/kathakali/

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