- Language: Kannada
- City / State: Delhi
- Directed By: Lakshmana K P
- Produced By: Jangama Collective
Daklakatha Devikavya is an experimental play drawing on the epic poetry and stories of the important Kannada writer and founder-member of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti, K.B. Siddaiah. This experimental piece begins with a re-reading of a cosmogonic myth — from a community that is considered oppressed even amongst the oppressed — narrating the origins of the world and of life on it. The play progresses through weaving and unravelling rituals in the ‘untouchable’ community, their rituals and beliefs - through song and storytelling. For untouchable communities, nudi (speech, sound, voice, and word) is like breath that cannot be separated from the body. In a context such as this, the play confronts what happens when the ‘written word’, that has so far been unreachable, collides with and becomes an organ of the untouchable body, giving rise to a new relationship between intimacy and struggle. The play provokes insights into untouchability and the ‘written word’, forcing us to confront what it means to be human.
Can a creative self encompass a community’s celebration, troubles, hunger, pain, despair, desire, and sense of abandonment, as well as its numerous ancestral memories? And if it is possible that all this can be encompassed, what kind of expressive form does this creative self take? While searching for these answers, I encountered K.B. Siddaiah’s poetry that challenged me to journey playfully with it. This is how Dakladevi Devikavya began to take shape. The poetry initially felt combative and stood stubborn. But the more I played with it, it started revealing its vibrancy, tempo, rhythm, colour, and scent, as well as its limitless pain, amusement, and hunger. In the process of sculpting this poetry for stage, it was a wonder to witness how the use of the instruments, areye and tamte- as ancient as the oldest inhabitants of the land- lent a primordial resonance to the stage and embraced the actors’ bodies that played along to its beats. This process returned us to our cultural memories and made us witness its infinite life-affirming compassion and wisdom. I believe that some of these experiences will touch the audiences and make them resonate with the world of untouchability.