Wednesday, May 11, 2022


SHUDRAKA (Indian, unk. date, perhaps 3rd or 5th century CE)

Three extant Sanskrit plays are attributed to one Shudraka, who may have been a king (perhaps in the Abhira dynasty, which lasted from 203-315 or 370 CE), or could be a mythical figure. But the plays are real:

  • Mrichchhakatika (The Little Clay Cart), a ten-act drama in which a noble but impoverished young Brahmin (priest) falls in love with a wealthy courtesan, but their relationship is threatened by an aggressive rival.
  • Vinavasavadatta, a nine-act play (only eight survive) in which a king tries to "match" his daughter with another king; when the prospective groom refuses, the father imprisons him to break his pride--and it works!
  • Padmaprabhritaka, a bhana--a short one-act monologue in which one actor may take many parts.


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