Rasdhari

Definition

Theater

  • The version of Raslila that has developed in the northwestIndian state of Rajasthan. The travelling performers who brought Raslilato Rajasthan in the mid 19th century were called Rasdharis,a term that was later applied to the genre itself. Local people formedtheir own troupes and diverse styles developed; while some were overtlydevotional others adapted stories from mythological and historicalsources and drew on regional musical traditions. Today's fast-pacedenergetic performances are put on by peripatetic actors and musiciansin village meeting areas. Costumes are based on local styles and theactors often improvise to suit the mood or habits of the villagersor to satirize individuals.

    Rasdhari productions take place on a simple stage withoutscenery: basic props are often borrowed from the villagers. In contrast,the prose and songs are elaborate and detailed to create vivid picturesof other places and times for the audiences.

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