Singapore Arts Festival 2003 Presents Adishakti Theatre Company (India)


Adishakti Theatre Company (India)




 Date:  5 - 7 June  
 Time:  8 pm
 Venue:  DBS Arts Centre
 Tickets:  $42, $32, $22
 Duration:  70 minutes (no intermission)


· Performed in English with some Tamil and Malayalee


“The creators' perfect blend of spoken language, physical body, music and lights creates a ‘total’ experience, ” “In fact, it is a thoroughly sophisticated and superbly crafted crest on the wave of modern theatre.” ~ The Dance Insider


The exploration of polarities and their essential union.


This binary juxtaposition forms the theatrical essence of Adishakti Theatre Company’s Brhannala, an impressive one-man performance that boasts a unique, contemporary language of expression drawing from the highly physical performance forms of Kalaripayattu, Koodiyuttam, Kathakali and Chau.


Brhannala is the result of a year’s collaborative work between Koodiyattam actor Usha Nangiar, Brhannala’s solo performer Vinay Kumar and Adishakti’s founder & artistic director Veenapani Chawla.


Chawla, who is unmistakably one of the foremost experimental theatre exponents in modern India, has led Adishakti in initiating a radical departure from the existing practice of treating traditional forms as hermetically sealed, or only as the objects of preservation and restoration. “We try to create an environment for traditional artists within which they can rediscover their art and make their work more accessible to contemporary audiences.” remarks Chawla.


Brhannala continues this tradition of dynamic experimentation with striking effect.  Based loosely on the stories of the Mahabharata, Brhannala presents a contemporary allegory using the image of Arjuna as a metaphor for healing the schisms between the polarities of existence: male-female, time-space, left-right.  Executing this rich text with hypnotic mastery of body and voice, versatile solo actor Kumar transforms effortlessly from tiger to dog, macho warrior to swaying danseuse, and Arjuna to Shiva in a moment.


Accompanied by a music ensemble playing up to 40 instruments with music by the well-loved composer Hariharan, Brhannala seeks to transports the audience from the earthly sing-song of street theatre to the sublime in this magnetic theatre piece.


Since its inception in 1981, Adishakti has been credited with an impressive list of major productions under its belt. These include Ganapati (The Other Festival 2000), Impressions of Bhima (Prithvi Theatre Festival 1997), A Greater Dawn (1992), Trojan Women (1985), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1983) and Oedipus (1981).


Please refer to attached annexes for more information:

  • Annex 1 – Synopsis of Brhannala
  • Annex 2 - Company Profile of Adishakti Theatre Company
  • Annex 3 – Profile of Veenapani Chawla
  • Annex 4 - Profile of Vinay Kumar
  • Annex 5 – Profile of Cast