Both ‘Lavanasuravadham’ and ‘Sitashapatham’, staged in Palakkad, detailed events that follow the coronation of Lord Rama as King of Ayodhya.
The Mahabharatha and Ramayana are the basis of several Kathakali plays. ‘Lavanasuravadham’, an attakkatha penned by Palakkattucheri Amrutha Sasthrikal, is based on the Ramayana. So is ‘Sitashapatham,’ a new play written by E.C. Janardhanan Potty. Both plays narrate events that follow the coronation of Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya. These two plays were recently staged, over three days, at Emoor Bhagavathi temple in Palakkad.
Veteran Vazhenkada Vijayan performed the role of Hanuman in ‘Lavanasuravadham’. The artiste and teacher who is well-known for his Kathi roles donned the Vella Thadi vesham with élan, and was perfect in his delivery of mudras, accompanied by rhythmic footwork. Akhila Sudheer, an up-and-coming artiste, enacted the role of Sita. The characters of Lava and Kusan were donned by Sreelakshmi and Meenakshi, respectively.
‘Sitashapatham’ is divided into six scenes. Disturbed by rumours circulating in the kingdom about Sita’s virtue, Rama abandons his pregnant wife in the forest. The grief-stricken Sita finds refuge in the ashram of saint Valmiki and it is there that she delivers Lava and Kusan. The twins grow up under the tutelage of Valmiki, who teaches them to sing the Ramayana. The twins accompany Valmiki to Ayodhya and sing the lyrics. Their father hears them and learns the truth of their birth. Realising that Sita is innocent, Rama invites her back to the palace, but under one condition – that she has to swear an oath of purity. A saddened Sita, instead, chooses to go back to the womb of her mother, Goddess Earth.
Kalamandalam Venkitaraman essayed the King of Ayodhya with confidence. Sadanam Vijayan as Sita maintained the mood of the character throughout the play. Kalamandalam Kuttikrishnan (Lakshmanan), Kalamandalam Chinosh Balan (messenger) and Kalamandalam Sibi (Valmiki) executed their roles well. Lyrics were tuned by Kottakkal Madhu and Sadanam Sivadas. Madhu and Nedumpalli Rammohan contributed to the success of the play. Sadanam Ramakrishnan and Sadanam Jithin (chenda), and Sadanam Devadas (maddalam) were the percussionists.
The plays were organised by Kallekulangara Kathakali Gramam.