Kathakali: Indian Musical Dance Theater

You drink chai and attend yoga classes, you dine on curries and masalas, you even watch the occasional Bollywood flick. But let’s admit it: There’s still an enormous amount of Indian culture that’s exotic to us Americans. Take Kathakali, the ancient and visually dazzling form of theater from the country’s southwestern region, which employs dance, gesture, song, and percussion in the telling of epic Hindu myths. The flashy costumes and an elaborate style of makeup (characterizations are assigned to performers based on various combinations of green, red, black, and yellow) are designed to “raise the participants above the level of mere mortals, so that they may transport the audience to a world of wonders.” Would that more entertainment aspired to this goal! A traditional Kathakali performance would last through the evening until dawn, when Good finally conquered Evil in a bleary-eyed finale. In keeping with American tastes, this show boils down the best of this tradition into a couple of hours. 612-339-7007; www.hennepintheatredistrict.com