The Sanskrit theatre tradition of India has often been regarded as avoiding, even prohibiting, depiction of death on the stage. This article argues that death was both threatened and enacted on the stage, and has always been integral to the Sanskrit theatre tradition, as seen to the present day in Kerala's kūṭiyāṭṭam tradition. The apparent conﬂict between "rules" from the Nāṭyaśāstra, the normative text for theatre, and actual dramas is examined, and the surprisingly large number of references in the Nāṭyaśāstra to dramatic uses of death are discussed. For the audience member, seeing depictions of or threats of deaths on the stage can be a signiﬁcant component of the Indic theatrical experience.
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 26, 2007