Dancing In The Dark
GOKULAM ENGLISH|August 2018

‘It is twilight. A few bamboo poles have been erected and a thin screen stretched across.

The stage is set. Darkness has fallen. Flickering street lights and oil lamps provide light. Behind the screen the puppeteers stand with their puppets, ready to deftly move arms and legs appearing to argue, fight and even fly! The sutradhaaris begin their narration to the accompaniment of the harmonium. On the other side of the screen, people of all ages sit spellbound as they are drawn into the action. The characters are familiar. Rama, Sita, Hanuman… oh look, the huge ten headed Ravana has arrived and the crowd shudders for they know what is going to happen… as the story is a beloved one.’ So goes a description from an old book of an art form which is famous in the villages of Andhra Pradesh.

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