Structure of the Natyashastra

The Natyashastra consists of 36 chapters. The outer and spatial aspects, such as the stage, the theatre building etc. are discussed in Chapters 1–5. Chapters 6–7 discuss the theory of rasa, i.e. the crucial question as to how to evoke a mood, while Chapters 8–13 focus on the physical acting technique. The verbal aspect, such as speech and sound, is dealt with in Chapters 14–19, while Chapters 20–21 discuss the types and structure of drama. The outer aspects of acting, such as the costume and the make-up types, are dealt with in Chapters 22–26. More general aspects are touched upon in several chapters, while Chapters 28–33 focus on music. Aspects of the theatre troupe and the distribution of roles are then discussed, after which the focus returns to the very beginning, i.e. to the question of the divine origin of the art of the theatre. (This list is based on a very useful introduction to the subject: Vatsyayan, Kapila: Bharata, The Natyashastra, New Delhi, 1996.)