The Milky Ocean - Parkadal

To Be and Not To Be and the elixir of immortality

Balinese Painting: E74177A

Balinese Painting: E74177A
Photographer:  © Australian Museum

A satirical story from Kattaikkuttu Youth Theatre School in Tamil Nadu, India.

Two comical characters To Be (Undu) and Not To Be (Illai) came out of the egg that was lying near the Ocean of Milk. These two Siamese twin brothers wanted to acquire their own identity. In the meantime the two groups of migrants Comers and Goers passed by. They searched for material possessions. The two brothers wanted to be pulled apart, but Comers and Goers were prepared to do so only for material reward. So, To Be and Not To Be made up the story that after they were separated they would tell where the treasure is located. When Comers and Goers succeeded in splitting the two brothers they were told that ‘all precious things are contained in the waters of the Milky Ocean. To obtain this wealth they will have to churn the seas.’

The Comers and Goers decided to share the wealth equally, but excluded To Be and Not To Be, so the two brothers were left to watch and report on this momentous undertaking. The Comers and Goers went on churning the Ocean of Milk. After some time different objects began emerging from the ocean, coconut and an empty bottle, vehicles and weapons. Lastly, a beautiful woman came out of the water. She was holding a jar containing coral, pearls, gold, poison and nectar that would grant immortality and immorality to those who drink it.

At this stage the goods were divided. The Comers took the bigger share of the wealth recovered from the ocean. They kept the beautiful woman and the jar for themselves and allowed the Goers to keep To Be and Not To Be. Not surprisingly a conflict erupted, in which the Goers took some of the weapons, turning the balance of power in their favour and driving the Comers away.

When To Be and Not To Be saw such injustice, they snatched even more powerful arms and chase away the Goers. The beautiful woman proclaimed that now everything belonged to the two brothers alone. But To Be and Not To Be, disgusted by the quarrel, threw the weapons back into the ocean and urged the woman to return to the ocean as well. They made sure she took the mysterious jar with its dangerous contents. After restoring everything to its original balance To Be and Not To Be went back into the egg from which they were born.

The ‘Milky Ocean’ was produced and performed in 2005. The script written by Perungattur P. Rajagopal the principal, teacher and director of the Kattaikkuttu Youth Theatre School with co-producers Evelien M.A. Pullens, Christa E. Ten Brinke and Hanne M. de Bruin (concept).  

Explanation: Siamese twins are Identical twins joined together at birth.

Dr Stan Florek , Database Manager
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