Last night Adrian and I decided to further enrich our cultural knowledge of India by going to see a Kathakali performance.
Kathakali is a traditional Keralan artform. The artists basically act out a story using elaborate facial expressions and hand movements (no speaking), assisted by crazy make-up and very complicated costumes.
The make-up alone takes about 40 minutes to apply and the finished result looks spectacular. There's then a very long process where the performers get into their costumes, all of which is done in front of the audience. Before they started they gave us a detailed explanation of what some of the facial expressions mean (see left, our female protagonist is 'in love'), but I had to look away after a while as the angry one involved some crazy eye rolling which made me feel a little queer.
In fact, here's a video clip we recorded from the performance. In this scene, the hero (with the green face) is getting annoyed with the other character's sexual advances...