Vyangyavyakhya: The Aesthetics of Dhvani in Theatre
The doctrine of dhvani, expounded by Anandavardhana (ninth century ce) in Kashmir though contested by his contemporaries at home, received sound acclamation in Kerala. A royal dramatist — Kulashekhara – of the same century applied dhvani to the theatre. His performance text is known as Vyangyavyakhya (VV), meaning interpreting the implied. This was an epoch-making event in the history of Indian theatre. This innovation in performative practices marked a deviation from Bharata’s national tradition and laid down the foundation for classical forms like Kutiyattam, Kgrshnanattam, Kathakali and Mohiniyattam. VV today continues to inspire contemporary directors to formulate new interpretative sub-texts for ancient plays. VV, which remained in manuscripts till now, is published for the first time.
As icing on the cake, four eminent scholars — K.D. Tripathy, Radhavallabh Tripathi, N.P. Unni and Kavalam Narayana Panikkar – delve deep into the aspects of VV as introduction to this book. This volume discusses in detail the Sanskrit theatre until tenth century ce, performance texts of Dhananjayadhvani and Samvaranadhvani, and the developments in the post-Kulashekhara era.
VV should serve as a guide to all practitioners of performing arts, and should entice students, teachers and lovers of Indian performing arts.
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