Mahabharata produced by KIKH Project and directed by Hiroshi Koike of Japan, explores elements of culture that binds Asian countries.
The production, divided into four parts, has a new approach to the epic. The first part was made in Cambodia. The second, produced in India, is being staged at the Seventh International Theatre Festival of Kerala on Monday. The third and the fourth part will be produced in Japan and Malaysia.
The part made in India focuses on the great wars, using physical theatre, and features actors from India, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan.
It has been made in collaboration with Theatreconnect. “The production was an attempt to tap pan-Asian connections in drama,” said Kesavan Namboodiri of Theatreconnect.
The set for the production is minimal, emphasising a greater presence of the performer.
“The Mahabharata project was launched after the 2011 earthquake in Japan or the Great Sendai Earthquake. A powerful earthquake shook north-eastern coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island, caused widespread damage on land and initiated a series of large tsunami waves. It shocked the nation. Many were numb. Our artistic productions came to a standstill. Koike knew that we should not remain silent for long. He then launched the Mahabharata production,” said Fumiko Sato, production manager with KIKH Bridge Project.
Koike was born in Hitachi in Ibaraki prefecture of Japan. After working as a TV director for a while, he started a performing arts company, Pappa Tarahumara, in 1982. He has directed 55 productions. “Mahabharata puts forth a wide canvas of Asian culture,” he said.