The word theatre means "place for seeing".The first recorded theatrical event was a performance of the sacred plays of themyth of Osiris and Isis in 2500 BC in Egypt. This story of the god Osiris was performed annually at festivals throughout the civilization, marking the beginning of a long relationship between theatre and religion. There are several types of theatres in India.Each state in India has its own distinct theaterical form of itself. India has a longest and richest tradition in theatre going back to at least 5000 years. The origin of Indian theatre is closely related to ancient rituals and seasonal festivities of the country. Bharata's Natya Shastra (2000 BC to 4th Century AD) was the earliest and most elaborate treatise on dramaturgy written anywhere in the world. The traditional account in Bharata's Natya Shastra gives a divine origin to Indian Theatre, attributing it to the Natyaveda, the holy book of dramaturgy created by Lord Brahma. Theatre in India started as a narrative form, with recitation, singing and dancing becoming integral elements of the theatre. This emphasis on narrative elements made our theatre essentially theatrical right from the beginning. That is why the theatre in India has encompassed all the other forms of literature and fine arts into its physical presentation: literature, mime, music, dance, movement, painting, sculpture and architecture - all mixed into one and being called ‘Natya’ or Theatre in English.
SANSKRIT OR CLASSICAL THEATRE
It is difficult to determine the precise origins of the Sanskrit drama. Fragments of the earliest known plays have been traced to the 1st century AD. However, scholars believe that a living theatre tradition must have existed in India much earlier. Unfortunately, although the Indus Valley people left behind an enormous wealth of archaeological evidence, they give no signs of any theatrical activity. Dance and music seem to have been their mainstay, perhaps as part of their religious celebrations. A search of the Vedas, dating from approximately 1500-1000 BC, yields no trace either, although a few texts are composed in short, elementary dialogue. Shudraka, Harsha, Visakhadatta, Bhasa, Kalidasa and Bhavabhuti were, undoubtedly, the six outstanding Sanskrit playwrights of all times who have contributed in a great measure through their dramatic pieces in Sanskrit. Kalidasa's Shakuntala, King Harsha's Ratnavali, Bhasa's Swapna-vasavadatta, Bhavabhuti's Uttara-rama-charita and Mahavira-charita, Visakhadatta's Mudrarakshasa are some of the outstanding Sanskrit plays.
There are said to be ten types of Sanskrit plays: Nataka, Prakarna, Anka, Vyayoga, Bhana, Samvakara, Vithi, Prahasana, Dima and Ithamgra. The Natyashastra focuses on only two of these types - the Nataka and Prakarna. Swapanavasavadatta, Uttaramcharitra and Shakuntala fall into the category of the Nataka. These plays deal with the exploits of a hero, either a royal sage or king, who is always successful in the end. The dominant sentiment is love and heroism. The plays range between five and seven acts. Plays falling into the category of Prakarna narrate stories that were invented by their authors. The hero is a Brahmin, minister or merchant while the heroine is a courtesan. Love is the predominant sentiment. Anka (act) involves a change in the hero's basic situation as the plot develops. It is made up of a series on incidents that are related to the major character. Certain events are never depicted in an anka, like a battle, marriage, death, loss of kingdom and the pronouncement of a curse.
Koodiyattam (Koothiyattam) is derived from the Sanskrit word Kurd, meaning to "to play", and is considered to have been introduced in India by the Aryans. Koodiyattam is the oldest existing classical theatre form in the entire world, having originated much before Kathakali and most other theatrical forms. It is considered to be at least 2000 years old.This theatre...