Bhasa’s Play: Madhyama Vyayoga

Playwright: Mahakavi Bhasa
Director: Jagadeesh R
Group: Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale, Sanehalli, Karnataka
Language: Kannada
Duration: 1 hr 20 mins

The Play
A Brahmin family is captured by Ghatotkach, son of the demoness Hidimbā and the middle Pandava prince, Bhima, who is doing his mother’s bidding, for she has asked him to find a human for her meal. Upon painfully discussing who will sacrifice his life, it is decided that the middle son, Madhyama, is to be taken for Hidimbā. Before facing his fate, the middle son asks permission to quench his thirst at a nearby lake.
The middle son is gone for some time and Ghatokach calls out to him… “Madhyama… Madhyama…” Incidentally, Bhima, also called Madhyama by his brothers, is passing by. He responds to the call and finds the priest and his family in a state of despair. Bhima inquires the identity of Ghatokach’s mother, only to find that Ghatokach is his own son. Bhima is amused and without giving away his identity gets into a duel with his son and defeats him. Bhima asks Ghatokach to call his mother so that she can satiate her hunger. Hidimba appears and reveals the identity of Bhima to their son. Ghatokach is shocked and humbled by the sudden revelation. Hidimba says that her appetite is satisfied by the return of her husband, and both families go their separate ways.

Director’s Note
In contemporary society middle path symbolizes weakness and defeat, and is related to adjustments. The play carries the notion that one who has the power and utilizes it to serve and protect the poor and week knows the middle path… madhyama. To interpret the above view, I have chosen the Sanskrit play Madhyama Vyayoga to be presented in folk forms like Kudiyattum and Yakshagana by folk artistes. The stylised acting method gives performers room for improvisation and the austerity of the presentation ensures uninterrupted flow of action. In these productions, it is the actors’ bodies which become the vehicle of manifestation of human emotions and action. The actors acquire the central space in these productions marked by a variety of colours, musical tunes and themes.

The Director
Jagadeesh R was born in Chikkamagalur district, Karnataka, India in 1981. He graduated in Design and Direction from National School of Drama, New Delhi in 2013. He is a sculptor and a musician and is active in theatre giving direction, music, light and scenic design. He has won the State Award for Theatre Music in the year 2006. He participated in the 2nd Asian Theatre Festival at Beijing, China (2012), and The NAPA (National Academy of Performing Arts) International Theatre Festival at Karachi, Pakistan (2014). Currently he is working as a director at Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale, Sanehalli, Karnataka.

The Playwright
The earliest known Sanskrit dramatist, Bhasa, is believed to have lived sometime during the 3rd century AD. Thirteen of his plays were rediscovered in 1912. Most of these surviving works are romances taken from the famous epics the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, although two of Bhasa’s plays do boast of original plots viz. Avimaraka and Charudatta.

The Group
Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale was established in year 2008 and is a residential theatre school. It has been designed in the Gurukula system with a broad syllabus, adapted from the best theatre institutions of the country. Its course is backed by 25 years of experience of Kalashangha and 15 years of the Shivasanchara Theatre repertory. It is training today’s youth in both traditional and experimental ways.

Cast & Credits
Hidimba Madhushree V A
Ghatotkacha Naveen M
Bhima Abhishek K
Brahmana Santhosh Guledagudda
Brahmani Pooja Gajakosh
Prathama K S Gireesh
Madhyama Golla Ramesh
Trutiya Shivanagouda Maalipatil
Devi Chetan J
Sahachareyaru Tulasi P Karigar, Asha M R
Rakshasa Gana Madan S V, K Prem Kumar
K V Ganesha, Guruprasad
Ateem Dadapeer Nadaf, Sanath Kumar

Light Design Vinod Laxman Bhandari
Choreography Prathibha B G
Make-up Mithun Balakrishna
Costume Kiran T C, Panduranga Nayak
Vocals Jagadeesh R
Percussion B Prakash, Madhu E
Sound Design Lava Kumar
Assistant Directors Vinod Laxman Bhandari, Pratibha B G

Playwright Mahakavi Bhasa
Music, Design and Direction Jagadeesh R

Jagadeesh R
Director, Sri Shivakumara Rangaprayoga Shale
Sanehalli – 577515, Karnataka
M: +91 8199243772, 9743095604