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Stories from Mahabharata

Kathakali-style Indian classical dance-theatre

Stories from Mahabharata

Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo (Italy) and Kalatharangini Kathakali School (India)

Director: Dr. Kalamandalam John

Performed in Malayalam and Sanskrit with Hungarian and English subtitles

7 hours 30 minutes with 2 breaks.

„What has not been presented in this piece, you would seek in vain in the triple world!” – one can read in the original commendation of the ancient Indian epic. Ervin Baktay, the creator of the shortened Hungarian version, says: „if we only knew Mahabharata about the past of India, it would be enough to reconstruct the ancient Hindu mythology, religion, world view, philosophy, intelligence, habits and art.”

Originally from Kerala, the verdant region of South-West India, Kathakali had distilled the juices of a multiform culture of performing and ritual practices until it was organized in its final and current shape around the middle of the 17th century.

The sumptuous combinations and display of make-ups and costumes, the hypnotic and extremely refined vocal and percussive music, combined with the legendary technical training of its actors, place this art at the top of the world theatre.

For the first time in Hungary, the spectators can experience a full, traditional Kathakali night. Not only a performance, but (followed by chai tea and samosa) it is a little piece of India that the artists conjure here. Sadaanam Krishnankutty, one of the most significant representatives of Kathakali today, participates in the production.

Dr. Kalamandalam John


Accompanying events

25 May 2023, Friday, 6 PM, Kaszás Attila Stage
Raja of Kottarakkara

An informative presentation about the myth and the poetry of the Indian Kathakali dance theatre
Tiziana Barbiero, a founder member of the Teatro tascabile di Bergamo, will present the genre of Kathakali with the participation of the main actors, Kalamandalam John and Sadanam Krishnankutty, and the musicians.


26 May 2023, Saturday, 5PM, First floor lobby
The audience will be able to follow live the process of mask painting and dressing up of Kathakali actors until 8:30 PM in the so-called "Green room".


The Stories from Mahabharata is an Indian classical dance-theatre in Kathakali style, which will start from 9 PM on the Main Stage. The performance will last 7 and half hours so it will end at 4:30 AM on the 27th at sunrise. The performance will be followed by the Kelikottu, the traditional sun salutation ritual, in which the Kathakali drummers will give a short concert (with a small breakfast) and the musicians will present a song to greet Surya, the ancient sun god of Hindu mythology. 


Supported by


Sadaanam Krishnankutty 
Kalamandalam Balasubrahmanian 
Dr Kalamandalam John (India)
Kalamandalam Krishnaprasad 
Kalamandalam Soman 
Kalamandalam Sivadasan 
Mario Barzaghi
Alessandro Rigoletti 
Ruben Manenti 


Kathakali Chutti (mask): Kalamandalam Sukumaran, Kalamandalam Rajesh,  Kalatharangini Mary John 
Stage assistants: Caterina Scotti, Marta Suardi
Light operator és sound operator: Fabio Vignaroli 
Coordinator: Tiziana Barbiero


Dr. Kalamandalam John

Main Stage
Dr. Kalamandalam John

Dr. Kalamandalam John

Dr. Kalamandalam John founder and Director of Kalatharangini Kathakali School. Born in Kerala in 1955, K.M. John got rigorous training in Kathakali for nine years, eight hours a day at Kerala Kalamandalam under Guru (professor) C. Padmanabhan Nair and Vijayakumar. He studied sanskrit and Kathakali literature under Prof. Unnikrishnan Elayadu.

In 1977 he was awarded the A.D. Bolland Gold medal for the best Kathakali student. In 1978 he was awarded the government of India scholarship. Since completing his course, he worked as a teacher for both foreign and Indian students in Kerala Kalamandalam. As a member of the Kalamandalam troupe he toured all over India and abroad.

Sadaanam Krishnankutty:  cultural artist and a popular performer of Kathakali. Since childhood, he has been deeply interested in Kathakali, and hence immediately after leaving school, he decided to totally commit himself to Kathakali and develop a career as an artist. He has about 60 years of experience as a performer and teacher. Since 1974, he has performed several times in the USA, Europe, UAE, Singapore, Japan and Malaysia. He is one of the senior Gurus of Kathakali. He was honoured with many National Academy awards, State Government awards and other recognitions from various cultural organisations.


Kalatharangini Kathakali School (Thrissur, Kerala, India) Kalatharangini Kathakali School is a premiere educational and cultural institution which ardently focus in the uplifting of traditional performing arts of Kerala. Kalatharangini has performed in many stages across the world and also provide training in Indian Classical Dances like Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Kuchippudi Kalatharangini with a history of 35 years in the field of training in traditional art is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious institutions with ample affiliations and experience.

TTB Teatro tascabile di Bergamo – Accademia delle Forme Sceniche
Bergamo, Italy - 
TTB Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo – Accademia delle Forme Sceniche was founded in 1973 by Renzo Vescovi following the path of Jerzy Grotowsky’s Teatr-Laboratorium and Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret. Defined by scholars as a "living cultural asset" and "festival group", TTB is able to fill a whole week of theatre with performances of various forms and genres. In 1977, TTB started the exploration of eastern scenic culture, and since then it has been promoting the artistic and cultural knowledge in the Western world, through the foundation of IXO – Istituto di Cultura Scenica Orientale.
Besides, within TTB, a couple of teams of Italian actors–dancers were formed, each mastering various forms of Indian classical dance.
For TTB the relationship with India is the logical development of its need for scientific knowledge, the acquisition of technique and practice, and a logical solution to the problem of the theoretical and formal basis of their work.


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