In a break from tradition, Yakshagana mandali cuts down show time

It is in keeping with the changing times, says Veerendra Heggade

The ancient art form popular in the coastal districts is traditionallyperformed throughout the night.— FILE PHOTO: H.S. MANJUNATH

In an effort to adapt to the changing times and taste in arts, Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Krupaposhitha Yakshagana Mandali, a professional Yakshagana touring troupe well over 100 years old, will not perform all-night shows from the current touring season, starting in November-December.

Instead, it will perform shows from 7 p.m. to midnight. D. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari, Dharmasthala, made this announcement on Thursday. With this, the duration of the yakshagana performance of the most popular mela in this region would be cut by about three hours.

The ancient art form popular in the coastal districts is traditionally performed throughout the night. The shows start around 9.30 p.m. and end at 6 a.m.

Mr. Heggade said the show duration is being reduced due to “inevitable factors”. The decision has been taken after three years of thinking and deliberations over it and by consulting all stakeholders, he said.

He said that many Yakshagana melas (troupes) were facing dearth of audience who did not watch the shows after midnight. With various modes of modern entertainment platforms being available now, Yakshagana melas were not attracting mass audience.

Many such traditional performing arts have vanished in the changing times.

Mr. Heggade pointed out that the melas were also facing dearth of open grounds to present “bayalatas” (open-field shows).

There were instances of people, especially in semi-urban and urban areas, objecting to loudspeakers making noise all through the night disturbing their sleep.

It was on July 16, 2013, that stakeholders of different Yakshagana melas came together at Dharmasthala to discuss the possibility of cutting down the duration of shows.

But the meeting did not arrive at a consensus, though some voted the move. But many participants in the meeting had suggested that the ideal time for staging shows would be from 6.30 p.m. to 11 p.m. By doing so, children, women, employees, workers and the general public could attend to their regular chores the next day.

The new form will eliminate gap-filling scenes in the night-long performances. It will help improve the quality of per-formance within the given time of five hours

 Source: TH

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