When goddess turns spectator: on multiple audiences in Tholpava Koothu performance in Kerala

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Abstract:

This article presents a unique performance practised in Kerala called Tholpava Koothu and discusses a highly enigmatic attribute of it what Stuart Blackburn interestingly termed the absent audience. The article, whilst discussing the fascinating issue of the absent audience, takes forward Blackburn's insightful perceptions and elaborates on the multiple audiences within the performance by dwelling at length upon the performer's self as audience, co-performer as audience, narrative audience (sub-categorized into matrix-narrative audience and embedded-narrative audience), ritualistic audience and conventional audience. The article delineates how a notional audience can make theatre happen and bring it to a totality of being.

Keywords: Koothu Madom; Pulavar; Ramayana; Tholpava Koothu; notional audience

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/stap.29.2.173_3

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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  • Studies in Theatre and Performance is a peer-reviewed journal which fosters a progressive forum to explore the nuances of theatre practice. The journal provides a critical scope to include other related disciplines in its scrutiny of the stage, exploring the interplay between performance, audience and dramatic practice.
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