Prahlada Nataka



  • In India's eastern state of Orissa, a unique style of dramaperformed in villages of the Ganjam district. Some 40 troupes performthe Play of Prahlada during festivals. Derived from a classicaltext popularized by a local 19th-century ruler, Raja Ramakrishna DevaChotterai, the plays tells of a little prince's persistent worshipof Vishnu despite the opposition of his wicked father, the king. Performancestake place in an open field on a platform stage. The actors danceto musical accompaniment provided by the harmonium, wind instruments,drums, cymbals, and conch shells. At the climax of the play, the actorplaying Narsimha, the incarnation of Vishnu, dons a man - lionmask that is believed to have special power. When he does so, he isbelieved to become possessed by the god and must be restrained byattendants to protect the actor playing the evil king. When Vishnudestroys the king order is restored.