The cast consists of Kapali or Satysoma, an unorthodox Shaivite mendicant, Devasoma, Satysoma's female partner, Buddhist Monk Nagasena, Pasupata, a member of another unorthodox Saivite order and a madman.
Summary of Matta Vilasaprahasanam
The play opens with the entering of two drunken Kapalikas, Satyasoma and his woman, Devasoma. They stumble from one bar to another searching for more alcohol. The Kapalikas are followers of Shaivism whose rites included drinking, wild dancing and singing, and ritual intercourse with their partners. When Satysoma asks for more alms, he realizes that he has lost his sacred skull-bowl. Devasoma suggests that he might have left it at the bar they had previously visited. However they could not find it there. Satyasoma believes that either a dog or a Buddhist monk might have taken it.
A Buddhist monk, Nagasena, enters and Kapalika suggests that he is the one who has stolen the skull-bowl. Satyasoma criticizes the monk. The kapali accuses Buddhism of stealing ideas from the Mahabharataand the Vedanta. Satyasoma keeps on arguing with the monk who denies the accusations. The argument leads to a physical brawl. Meanwhile another mendicant, a Pasupata acquaintance of Satyasoma's, enters and tires to bring the situation under control. The argument ceases when the Buddhist monk gives his begging bowl to Satyasoma.
Thereafter a madman enters the stage and he has the skull-bowl of Satyasoma. He got the bowl from a dog and the skull-bowl is finally returned to Satyasoma. There is a happy ending.
The play provides an interesting look into the life at Kanchipuram during the seventh century. References have been made to the sounds of drums, young ladies and various flower shops. The King speaks of the festive mood in the taverns and to the corrupted courts of Kanchipuram where officials were bribed at times.
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