According to the Natya Sastra, Natya means ‘drama.’ The presentation of the drama, the characters, their appearance and movements are all governed by specific rules. It even specifies how each and every character should express them-selves through body language, how they should stand and how they should move in the stage. The movements of eyebrows and the emotion-specific eyeball movements are detailed in the Natya Sastra. It also specifies that the colour of dress of a particular character should match its inherent qualities. Even the language to be used is specified - like the language of the city-folk and that of the village-folk. There are 37 chapters in the Natya Sastra. There is a separate chapter on themes, apart from what has been stated above. For example, the second chapter speaks about the stage design, its organization and management. It also specifies the shape of the auditorium, the stage and the portion where audience would occupy. It speaks about three different shapes - square, rectangular and triangular - for designing the hall.
Those were the days when the microphone was not available. It is amazing that the Sastra has detailed methods to be followed in the matter of acoustics. That is, designing of stages to enable the audience even in the last row to hear the voice of the performer, without resulting in echoes and spoiling the effect. It even states that the auditorium should be constructed in a central place of the city, easily accessible to all.
The 21st chapter speaks about costumes, make-up, etc. This has been categorized according to the age and the qualities of the characters. The 37 chapters of Natya Sastra are vivid, detailed and specific. They set out rules to be followed by the performers as well as in the designing of their costumes and in the design of the hall. It says that the story that is selected for the performance should have an interesting theme should have...