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Written & Directed by Sharanya Ramprakash

‘Akshayambara’ is an experimental Kannada play that uses both modern theatrical tools and the dance drama form of Yakshagana to create a contemporary narrative that raises questions on female representation and male ownership. The play was developed through the INLAKS Scholarship ’14, supported by the India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) and premiered at the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival ’15. It was recently nominated in eight categories at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) ’16 where it won Best Original Script & Best Actor (Male).

The play explores the representation of the feminine within the male-dominated practice of Yakshagana. What happens when a woman enters the professional space of a form performed by men for the last 800 years? Drawing from research and personal experience, the performance imagines a reversal of roles in the popular Yakshagana plot of ‘Draupadi Vastrapaharana’. A male artist in streevesha plays the virtuous Draupadi and espouses the cause of a woman, while in a tradition defying move, a woman is cast as the Pradhana Purusha vesha of a Kaurava who is driven by lust and power. What happens to the interpretation of gender when a man plays the streevesha and the purusha vesha is played by a woman? Who is the real woman and who is the real man? We see a constant shift of power between the actors as they shift from cauki (greenroom) to stage, engaged in a tussle that blurs the boundaries of stage and reality, male and female, thereby exploring the conflicts around tradition, gender, power and morality. 


Prasad Cherkady

Sharanya Ramprakash


Assistant Director: Surabhi Herur

Choreography: Guru Sanjeeva Suvarna

Kannada Translation: Kruti R

Performance Design: Shubhra Nayar

Lighting Design: Swetanshu Bora / Vinay Chandra P

Padya composition: Guru Subramanya Prasad , Kruti R & Sharanya Ramprakash

Himmela: Guru Subramanya Prasad, Guru Krishna Murthy Bhatt & Venkatramana Bhatt/ Rathnakar Shenoy

Violin: Pranav Manjunath

Production Controllers: Sridhar Prasad & Karan Shurpalekar

Stage Manager: Gowrav Gowda

Sound: Karan Shurpalekar/ Rohan Singhvi

Sound Mixing: Bharath MC

Backstage: Bhavik Bhandari, Rohan Singhvi, Zen (Naveen) Chhabria, Ashvath Singh & Rutwik Upadhyayula

Artwork: Rupesh Patange

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