- One of the two great epic poems of ancient India, the otherbeing the Ramayana. Its main story is the war between the Kauravas(descendants of Dhritarashtra) and the Pandavas (descendants of Pandu),but there are innumerable episodes. It contains the Bhagavad-Gitaand provides the stories for many Indian theatrical genres, includingKathakali.
The Mahabharata is mainly known to Western audiencesthrough Peter Brook's nine-hour stage adaptation, first presentedin a quarry near Avignon in 1985. The production, which subsequentlytoured internationally, drew eclectically on Western, Indian, andother theatrical traditions. The economy and craftsmanship of thestaging prompted critical superlatives. The multiracial cast, assembledunder the auspices of Brook's International Centre for TheatreResearch, had spent a month together in India before the firstperformance.