Everyday Flamboyancy in Chennai's Sabha Theatre

Everyday Flamboyancy in Chennai's Sabha Theatre Abstract: This paper analyzes the 1977 Tamil-language Honeymoon Couple , written by Crazy Mohan for comedian Kathadi Ramamurthy, as a typical play that illustrates the basic content as well as structural and aesthetic characteristics of the sabha theatre genre. This work exhibits the major traits that in my analysis constitute the genre: patronage by sabha s, with their middle-class, usually Brahmin, audience base; a central theme concerning marriage alliances and/or married life; scripted witty dialogue with a thin plot and one-liner jokes, often including language jokes that code-switch between Tamil and English; a socially conservative message; and an "amateur aesthetic" that involves minimal sets, costumes, and lighting, and two-hour evening or weekend matinee performances. The reading of Kathadi Ramamurthy's Honeymoon Couple illustrates the flamboyant quotidian nature of the pure comedy plays that focus on fast-paced dialogue filled with jokes, puns, and allusions, and works from that humor to a deeper understanding of middle-class Tamil Brahmin culture. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

Everyday Flamboyancy in Chennai's Sabha Theatre

Asian Theatre Journal, Volume 29 (1) – Jul 11, 2012

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-2109
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: This paper analyzes the 1977 Tamil-language Honeymoon Couple , written by Crazy Mohan for comedian Kathadi Ramamurthy, as a typical play that illustrates the basic content as well as structural and aesthetic characteristics of the sabha theatre genre. This work exhibits the major traits that in my analysis constitute the genre: patronage by sabha s, with their middle-class, usually Brahmin, audience base; a central theme concerning marriage alliances and/or married life; scripted witty dialogue with a thin plot and one-liner jokes, often including language jokes that code-switch between Tamil and English; a socially conservative message; and an "amateur aesthetic" that involves minimal sets, costumes, and lighting, and two-hour evening or weekend matinee performances. The reading of Kathadi Ramamurthy's Honeymoon Couple illustrates the flamboyant quotidian nature of the pure comedy plays that focus on fast-paced dialogue filled with jokes, puns, and allusions, and works from that humor to a deeper understanding of middle-class Tamil Brahmin culture.

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 11, 2012

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