Monday, March 2, 2015

wearing a face

Thought behind the thought

We face every new day with a new face! A happy one for a day we know is going our way. A worried one when we are unsure about the day we are going to meet. And we do this with practiced ease. Almost as naturally as we would choose our clothes to wear. 
Some people wear a happy face, no matter what. Does it mean that they are always happy? Or only that they are hiding their sadness behind it? And doesn't it eventually become cumbersome to carry on that way?
Is it not like being a part of a performance, where you are playing a role? The only difference being that the show never ends, but always goes on?

About the art
Actors get in to the skin of the characters they play in all performing arts, whether it is dance, or drama, or folk arts like the Bhand Pather of Kashmir, a dramatic from based on mythological stories incorporating contemporary social satire within its practical theme.
Born Hindus, but practising Muslims, the Bhands are secular in their outlook and that is reflected in this dynamic folk form that has incorporated many elements from the classical Sanskrit theatre as well as from other traditional folk forms of India. 

The plays of the Bhands are called 'Pather', a word that seems to have derived from patra, dramatic character. Bhand comes from the bhaana, a satirical and realistic drama, generally a monologue that is mentioned in Bharata's Natya Shastra. The Bhand Pather though is not a monologue but a social drama incorporating mythological legends and contemporary social satire.

Performed with traditional musical instruments and based on the traditional music forms, the acts communicate a strong social message. Masks are used by the actors to add more drama to their performances, making the satire more effective.

Masks used in Bhand Pather performances

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