As noted in Chapter 1, kathakali is constantly being (re)created and (re)positioned by and/or for its many different participants as well as audiences. Thus far I have focused on changes ‘within the tradition,’ and on some of the meanings the traditional repertory makes available to Malayali audiences, especially its connoisseurs, who judge innovation in terms of what they consider more or less ‘appropriate’ to the context. In Chapters 9 and 10 I provide a description and analysis of a variety of recent kathakali plays-in-performance which have ‘fashioned novel performances’ by ‘manipulating’ kathakali ‘in innovative ways’ both ‘within’ and ‘outside’ the tradition (Bauman 1977:34-5). I give most attention to three very different experiments, each of which adapts kathakali techniques and/or content in very different contexts and for very different audiences:

1 Bengali playwright Asif Currimbhoy’s little discussed 1960s English language modern drama, The Dumb Dancer, in which kathakali literally and metaphorically plays a central role. 2 The intercultural production of Kathakali King Lear, created and performed primarily for today’s international, cosmopolitan, festivalgoing performing arts audiences. 3 People’s Victory, created and performed exclusively within Kerala for local consumption by left-front political audiences within Kerala.