Tēvāram: Worshipping Gods on Stage

Elena Mucciarelli*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

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Samenvatting

Building on the idea of “ritual quotation,” this article offers a new perspective on rituals enacted within contemporary theatrical performances in South India. Drawing from an existing corpus and reproduced in a different framework, the ritual tēvāram is embedded in a broad web of intertextual relationships comprised not only of items of repertoire and prescriptive manuals, but also of elements of ritual practices, shared beliefs, claims of social status, and ongoing negotiations between individual imagination and collective expectations.

Usually a Nampūtiri domestic ritual, tēvāram is also carried out within Kūṭiyāṭṭam performances. Through a detailed analysis, I argue that the enactment of tēvāram on stage is not merely the stylized reproduction of a religious service, but it is rather an integral part of the narrative and aesthetic body of the theater practice. The performative and textual milieu of tēvāram creates scope for variations that modify both the plot and the tēvāram ritual itself. Kūṭiyāṭṭam-tēvāram thus becomes a transformative action and a tool of negotiation in the positioning of individuals within the social matrix.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)569–590
Aantal pagina's22
TijdschriftNumen
Volume69
Nummer van het tijdschrift5-6
DOI's
StatusPublished - aug.-2022

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