INTRODUCTION The vast majority of the rttual arts of Kerala are

resplendent with all the elements of Theatre. Ritual arts like Theyyam, Padayani, Kakkarasi, Koodiyattom, Kathakali etc. are artistic embodiment!; of efficacy and entertainment bearing the true culture of theatre. In the performative level most of them appear to move towards pure theatre while sustaining the basic ritual qualities. The conceptual frame work of these ritual arts exposesthe widely acclaimed fact that they are basically rooted in theatre elements in the varied aspects like the concepts behind the formation of the performer, treatment of the

audience, and the stress given to the spectacular elements. Two of the popular rit.ua1 arts are taken for special study to

compare these aspects in them with the theatres of Artaud and Grotowski and with the modern Malayalam Theatre of the period selected.

4.1.0 Theyyam.. Theyyam is a form of worship performed by the people of Northern Kerala. It consists of a special combination of symbols, rituals and art forms, particularly dance. In this spectacular art form,the ghosts,,good and evil spirits in the manifestation

of subhuman, animate and inanimate beings, ancestor-spirits of legendary figures of great valour, extraordinary powers and Gods. and Goddesses like '~iva;'~akti,vishnu'

endowments, and



appear and are honoured. This is done by dressing up in the intended form ('~olan;) and performing artistically according to prescribed rites and rituals, developed through folk traditions with the accompaniments of Theyyam Theyyam of vocal be and instrumental on music. and

Divisions traditions.

can like

possible. based


'pottan', folk origins

'gulikan', while

'chamundi', like

'Kurathi' etc.



'Vishumurthi' 'Daivathar', 'Makkoppothi' etc. show the Sanskrit tradition. From the classification of Theyyams we can conclude that most of them are of totemic origins. Durkheim is of the view that totemism is the most primitive form of worship. (1954; 47). Primitive peoples' worship of supernatural forces for

better life and prosperity led to the worship of corporel forces later. Totemic cults like tree-worship and animal- worship

originated like this. Theyyams originated as part of the cults of serpent, animal, ancestor, mothergoddess, spirits and heroes. (Nambiar, AK, 1988:55).


Thevyam: a conununitv act.

The ritual art of Theyyam is based on the culture, the religious beliefs and anthropological root of the society from ancient times. The castes who perform Theyyam in North Malabar are '~annan, ~ala~an', 'panan','velan, mnnuttan', 'mjuttan, ~avilari,




, *

, < 'coppalan: '~heravan,. Paravan, Tiyyamalayar, ~arim~alar' etc. The
I ,

'~avarnas' donot








investigator met perform 'Pottan


to 'pulaya' community, who 'Vishnumoorthi etc. He has a



Theyyam', shrine of

'Karichamundi', 'Raktha Chamundi'

'Pottan Theyyam' adjacent to his house. In the ritual, there is the participation of the whole community. The blacksmiths bring firewood used in various rituals. The ornaments, the various ritual implements, festival-ornaments are made by the goldsmiths, the efficacy of the ritual being monitored by the village

atmosphere. The low castes referredto.above become the performers The Harijan manual-labqrers bring raw materials to the shrine used for preparing Other the temple are space. by Muslims divine bring fireu





('Velichappadus'). The high castes become the conductors and the patrons of the performance.

4.1.2. Ritual -. enactments in Theyyam.

In most cases rituals become the symbolic actions of a culture. The expressive level of the symbol becomes the action part of a ritual. In the first chapter it is already pointed out that religious ritual is a symbolic effort of a community to establish relationship with reality which transcends words or deeds. The rituals of Theyyam differs with the nature of the myth of the Theyyam. However,the Theyyam rituals in genera1,have




The p u b l i c



feature. diviner


t h e e x a c t d a t e o f t h e c e l e b r a t i o n i s d e t e r m i n e d by t h e to lunar calculations. Once the date



f i n a l i s e d , t h e p r e p a r a t i o n of t h e p l a c e begins.

The i n v e s t i g a . t o r w i t n e s s e d t h e f o l l o w i n g s t a g e s of r i t u a l enactment in the In of Theyyam the ritual of of the the 'Pottan Theyyam' and a

'Kandakarnan'. solemn entered ritual the


performance, officiating



bath, then

priests The

'~ottaim' which main




'parikarmi's and other

job i s t o p r e p a r e t h e


( 'Kalasam' )

o f f e r i n g s s u c h as f r u i t s ,




w a t e r e t c . and a l s o a r r a n g e lamps w i t h o i l wick

('deepam). The (beginning)

commencing ceremony i s l o c a l l y known a s ' t h u d a n g a l ' This is t h e 'thudi' thottam' important 'thottam'

r e c i t a l with t h e a~cornpaniments~drum or This r e c i t a l


( s m a l l drum).

i s a l s o known a s


(thudangi = t o begin stage of the


t h o t t u = t o c r e a t e ) . The second


i s 'thottam



s t a n d ) . The Theyyam-dancer emerged from t h e g r e e n room w i t h h i s initial make up and a special robe called 'Kacha' and stood

b e f o r e t h e i n s t a l l a t i o n of t h e 'Kottam' t h e Theyyam-dance of T.heyyams Theyyam began got their for sung 'pottan'. makeup the by

and r e c i t e d t h e myth o f 'vellatom'. The the more

This i s called after the

'thottam' there


When one

ready was

pelrforrnance, t h e Theyyav


'thottam' which




i m p o r t a n t s t a g e i n t h e T.heyyam-performance i s known a s ' V a r a v i l i ' (Vara = b l e s s i n g / b o r n distinguished from


V i l i = i n v o c a t i o n ) . Each Theyyam c a n b e


' ~ a r a v i l i ' . After




He is turned in to a divine being while in performance. 'mutiazhichil' 4. The investigator was also called for blessings. Generally the devotees reciprocated with cash offerings. his is a total act. It was in that state of trance that he made prophetic untterances which the elders were to take note (U-21) of& He called out from among the audience. The sacrifice followed another 'uranjattom' which . known as 'Kalasamthullal' (end-performance) Bhapputti whc performed the 'pottan Theyyam'. to the dancing yard one by one in the order of seniority and status and blessed them. Actor-concept in Theyyam. Proper traditional training is necessary for effective ritual art which functions basically as a means of uniting one's true self with the infinite power of nature.2. told the investigator later that he went in to a trance and was possessed by the spirit. The concept of the performer in ritual art is different from the actor in a theatre.started the ciimax of dance. the Theyyam performed the sacrifice. The last stage of Theyvam is known as 'Kottikalasam' The Theyyarn performed a dance of a vigorous kind with the accompaniments of drums and at the end removed the crown. In all consideration.0. but he performs it out of the concept of dedication to the diety. . the performer is prepared not to perform the art before an audience. After the first 'Uranjattom'. This is known as (removal of the crown).

He would take only vegitarian food and keep celibacy. him a type of authority during He told the investigator that strict discipline cvritha'] is to be observed by t. Many of the techniques were accompanying his learned from direct observation.4.1 Training of the performer in Theyyam. the special language to address temple officials and important village members during the ritual etc. He began his training since the age of eight under his father. When asked about the training he got for Theyyam- performance.2. The session began with jumps. This special language made performance. This would make mind and body fully prepared for t. tells Bhapputti. Liquor is taken by certain Theyyams. Then he was taught the special yell peculiar to make his arms and hands vibrate. One to fourteen days of 'vritha' is to be observed.he Theyyam-performer. After learning in this way he was sent to a village to study with a famous teacher. remniscent of Kathakali. and various dancesequences.fhe rituals of . All types of into Theyyams ' Anustanas' are incorporated (Nampoothiri. to jump high enough to position the legs out infront of the body and touch the forehead with toes. Such types of different body movements were practj-sed.he performance. Vishnu 1977: 2 6 ) . There was no systematic training methods. while seven to eight months during father from festival season. There the training was vigorous. Madan Bhapputti narrated the following things to the investigator. were taught. The names of important shrines where the diety was worshipped.

'vritha'.Nambiar (1979-26). he points outf. claws.~adhika'. 4. When undergoing 'vritha' and painting the face. while 'God' is imposed on the performer in Theyyam.2. '~har~a'and'Satvika' are incorporated in to the enaction of Theyyam. In this respect. The intonation and dialogue are also extraordinary by their peculiar stylisation. There occurs the meeting of God by the performer and here .2. '~bhina~a' in Theyyam and 'Natyasastra' All = . he has to murmur the mantras. Transformation and transportation. taking the costumes.K. the informant told the investigator the following detailst. As the actors take the role of unwordly characters in the body painting and costumes. Bhapputti is a'manthravadi. Tie character is imposed on 'the actor' in theatre. 'Manthra'. he is like a magician by his craft and appearance is anticipated in this ancient ritual. they try to bring in some divine aspects. When asked about the transformation and transportation of the performer. '~rith~am' andCvadyad) is included in the whole performance of Thevvam.or different. 'Chilampu' and masks make the act. The 'thauryathrika' (keethai.Artaudls theory that the actor should be different. '~ngika.hd$heyvam is a theatre.3.2. This is supported by A. > 'Thanthra' and 'Karma'. artificial eyes. 4. The Theyyam- performer should always have the nMantrik upasana'. the four aspects of acting said in Natyasastra. After the make-up the performer looks into Valkannadi. The heavy and high head -gear.

he is aware of the role he is to perform.2.2. that he has returned to his original self. But he is not aware that he is aware. 4. When asked about the transportation.old the investigator that he sees Thevvam as a performing a r t : having nothing to do with religious conviction. also we have to acknowledge the changing nature of Thevyam from ritual to theatre. This gave him power to perform the necessary But the son in his own ritual. But all the while. it would take three or four hours. he replied that Then he feels But to regain this happens only. this transformation occurs. Bapputti and his son Gopalan had diverse opinions. during performance the mind is aware of the surroundings and action. The father said that during performance. characteristic way of modernity t. dance and speak to the audience.. 4.after the head-gear is removed.5 Some moments of drama in Theyyams The dramatic elements of performance in Thevvam which . The 'flow' in the actor is there. sensuous and decorative costume The masks and highly into an lift the performer extra-ordianry realm of unworldliness.4 Belief of the performer When asked about their belief in the divine. He believes himself to be a good performer Here and his ability came from his own training and stamina. the power of the diety came to him from recitation of special sacred syllables or mantras (He himself is a 'Mantravadi').onwards his transformation takes place. completely that feeling.

giving water to them. Status reversal of the actor in Theyyam. Kusa 7 c ? < . '~akshmana'('~ngakarai) < ~ a ~ ~ u r a (Hanuman).monkeys etc. All the important characters '~ama'( 'Daivathar' ) .inspite of his divine self. are enacted.The 'Ramayana Theyyam" which is enacted in the famous Andalloor 'Kavu' near Thalasseri is full of drama.the search of 'sitar. provide theatre in essence.take them nearer of to theatre by are the noticed.6.2. are enacted as Theyyams. the labour pain enacted etc. n' '~eetha. are full of dramatic sequences. 'The scenes how Bali bends Ravana by his tail. conversation like 'the deaf' theatrical. the dialogue between Bali and Rama. etc. the acrobatic scene of the . The loneliness of '~ama. the myth 'Iliranyavadam' is taking place as a high drama. Also 'Paniyan Theyyam'. etc. 4. etc.Leva. the stylised way in which '~aniyan' is taught the alphabet is highly a dramatic entertainment. Here ritual goes to theatre and using the whole body for the enactment. the dissuading scene of Bali by Thara at the eve of going to fight with Sugreeva. In 'Bali Theyyam' the dramatic quality achieves a further dimension. He appears to be a good actor. The affection shown by 'Makkopathi' towards her children. In 'Vishnu Moorthy Theyyam'. laughter. . The dramatic scenes like . In the very presentation Thevvams dialogues 'Pottan 'Kolakkaran' in the are loud certain the in like Theyyam'. performer's histrionic talent is put in to full test. In the 'Makkopothi Theyyarn' theatre is in full flourish. the the journey to 'lank.

The social norms are relaxed in which the whole celebration is givenanairof enchantment.Some rituals show ritual inversion. particularly the pre-literate cultures for resolving the contradiction in a society. This is what happens in 'Pottan Theyyam' performance. The field data show the very same cultural mechanism. bordering on obscenity. His language becomes very cutting . ' l ' h e liminal nature of the ritual inversion is a mechanism invented by every culture. 1977:167). crosses over the cultural (Turner. and The performer boundaries uses the ritual to criticise the society to ensure conformity of the individuals to the social norms. In any performance. he continues to amuse the crowd. He calls out the land lords to kneel and lie down in the dust. In 'Pottan Theyyam' there is the mixture of playfulness and seriousness. the more intense the status reversal appears to be. In trance the Theyyam-performer speaks out the frustration and resentment of the community. now that of divine person. r i u ~ playing the role of comedian. the playful nature is integral to liminal stage. (ii) As all norms of day-today life is relaxed. making transparent the opaque surface of social life. This happens in Theyyam-rituals of all the castes in varying degrees. The 'Pottan Theyyam' abuses. reviles and even physically mal-treat the highest authority with unusual aggressive temper. j f performance liminality has two meanings In the theory c (1) in the sense of manifesting what is hidden. In Thevvams both these aspects are seen. The lower the caste in hierarchy. The . it is a licence during which anything can take place. It is here the status reversal happens to Theyyam.

he tries to make people laugh. Theyyams fire. sometimes blood oozing out. the performer is expected to sustain the physical strength through out.2. His jokes are cutting and penetrating social criticisms. enduring the terrible heat . Theyyam: a theatre of cruelty.7. and hard endurance during long performance with the heavy head-gears some times. In some ' Theyyam- performances. pierces knife through his mouth. This sacrificial aspects of the actor in the theatres of Artaud and Grotowski are analysed in chapter 111. Even at the serious moments of playing with fire. he is enacting the collective wish of the people he represents. dips hands in the boiling oil. which would make the devotees laugh. his scaring the people is playful . which is the plural reflexibility . This expression of masochism can be traced back to premordial tribal rituals. lnspite of the 'Pottan' and 'Ottakkolam' would walk on throughout. the performer inflicts self-injury on his body. The ritual art form of Theyyam demands from the performer a total sacrifice on his part. . at the same time what he says will be taken seriously.renuous 'Vrithanustanas' before performance. He injures his head.'pottan' speaks out nonsensical things. Certain T_heyyams like '~antakkarnan' fix the burning torches on its body. In the status inversion role. jumps in to the fire. 4.

the performer may become unconscious during the performance.0 Audience in Theyyam. There might not have been the division between the actor and the audience in tribal dances. the arm and the leg of the performer would be tied tightly. This is enacted like a human sacrifice.In a Theyyam . The performer here rises up to the concept oE the actor in Artaud and Grotowski. the people this ritual art are participants and not who come to witne~~s spectators. At this stage. one is spatially posit. 4.called 'Umrr~attikuliyan' there is a fierce ritual which is rem. According to the status one enjoys in the social world. With the quick loss of blood. "~annan' and '~ala~an' . symbolic of human sacrifice. The Brahmins occupy a space further away from the shrine. Here. This blood-bath is carried out at noon time. In this Theyyam. the .ioned during performance. with a new cloth-covering.roof closer to the complex.3. The spirit prevails even now in all ritual performances. and these parts would be pierced with an iron needle and the blood would burst out. The basis of this is the total sacrifice of the actor in a ritual theatre. The discussions of Artaud's and ~rotowski2 Theatres in Chapter I11 revealed that they were centred arond building a new relationship between the actor and the audience. the low The bond of enactment might have been taken upon by castes by a historical necessity.inding of human sacrifice in 'Kali pooja'. Inspite of this. he would be carried away like a deadbody. This is the fundamental concept in all ritual theatre. Nayars a raised platform covered (being next to the hierarchy) occupy by a tile.last ritual is 'uchabali'.

1 Environmental Involvement Theatre of Theyyam and Audience The performance in open fields. .performers. temporary There is thatched the hut constructed swinging experiences of the spectator. rock. Human beings are understood as integral parts of nature in the of Theyyam is in sacred groves or actor and spectator share the Here experiences under the vast expanse of the sky in the lap of nature. 'Gulikan' with 'Chempakam'. Schechner points out that in the who environmental theatre. and later on it was celebrated in sacred groves. The 'mudi ' It of represents Theyyam is 'Kalisan'. nimb tree with 'Kali' etc. . on a a wide only open Eor the field. tree-symbolism plays an important role. 4. flower or fruit of venerated trees. The 'pipal' tree is and animals in the concept of Theyyam. 'Pottan' and 'Gulikan' are decorated almost totally with coc:onut-palms. associated with fairies.od (1973 : 108). the facial decorations are either in the form of a leaf. In many Theyyams. This is seen in the importance given to the trees In Theyyam-celebration. socially lower than 'the Thiyyas' occupy the space at the back of the compound.. a period. people get involved with the actor is an amateur transformed into C. most the of folkgod the Pulaya 'Kanjiram' is a prominent tree in 'Kottams'. Informants said that Theyyam was originally celebrated under the pipal tree or banian tree. in The performance may take place under a tree.

spirits are animals.3. Catharqis in Theyyam. The Theyyam-ritual is usually I ith the performer in himself to be a brganised to spend a sleepless night. patterned ~uthappan'.usually patterned after the shapes of a fruit or a leaf. into. 4. The identification of the spectator the theatre of Theyyam is almost complete. In 'Pottan Theyyam'. Goat and 'Pulimaranja is according This points audience. The heart shape of a 'pipal'-tree-leaf is a common pattern. the after the horn of a r of a buffalo. Eg . In all the mystic tradition.2.Theyyam' i~nying ju m ~ s respect to the tree 'chempakam'. Tiger -Theyyams ( ~ u l further. he feel I participant. Some of the Theyyam-danccs for y . 'Culiknn' begins clnncc by T h e 'pottan .as a ritual. . loss of sleep is an important point for getting in touch with one's inner energy. t k i e sy~~tbol of the animal- special wood of particular trees such In some Theyyams. T e spectator forgets that he is only a spectator. In the 'Muthappan Theyyam'. the glowing charcoal hea made out of the or 'Chempakam'.

The myths in E ics and the Vedas are called higher myths but local stories about heroes and heroines form the lower myths. the personifications of the qualities of gods. of When the process investigator participated Theyyam appeared or that Mudiyettu a in the ritual -.trance was experienced by entire crowd by the rhythmic dance. the same experienc Its 1 Padavani . 'Huthappan' e/c. 4 he ritual offerings of birds and anima1. The:y also of rhythmic fervour. the musical accompaniments.Loss of sleep in rhythmic performance such 7s drumming. It the participatory. types mythsC higher incorporated in to Theyyam. the div'ne features of the painted face of the dieties. the rhythmic jumping and running. the drum and 'thudi'.he crowd. leave a lasting effect to erupt in frenzy sounds. was undergone. the colours. all go in for a hypnotic effect in t.3. All Thevvams are structured upon myth houses of archetypal There are images two representinq of i I which are treasureexperience of and lower past life.3. movements This is the 1111 (N-22): experience of catharsis 4. Egs. dancing and singing of relaxes the performers who getting intouch with the slowly go through a unconscious. 'Ramayana Theyyam'. the chant.s etc. the elabor te headgears. Some times the higher myths may influence lower myths. Mvths in Theyyam and audience. myths 'Potta ' etc. The symbolism of the painted design. lower 'Muchilott Bhagavathi'. of higher are that and of ! mbths lp 'Vishnumoorthi'. . the whole colour. chabging it completly.

According to Kavalam. Natyasastra 'aharyabhinaya stresses one of representation. A beautiful myth of untouchability Pottan Theyyam. The function awaken a feeling of shared experience .4.4.0 Costumes. "Myths and rituals being the tradi . The Theyyam '~vermakkal).(Eg.1 Theyyam-Costume. 4. It plays an indispensable also as role in the the consummat: g externt four a ritual art. Costume has different functions in the tre-activities. (ii) models (iii) Painting of the body (iv) decorat on of the body. In the very colour display Theyyam-cosl me creates a mystic . f the myth is to the audience.. .relation practical with them. knowledge and craft" (1988:19). we can creat. the aF ropriate aesthetic experiences. Underlying the myth of ' Paniyan-'Theyyam' tht e is the fear of s incorporated in death. 4.e new myths snd rituals. Only by diving eep in to ancient a blood myths and rituals and establishin! . types of pr lcipal representation or interpretation through wh: h dance and drama succeed in conveying to the audience. It consists of (i) li ing objects.onal links enrich our art forms.. there by interpret life and get ex& rience. Bharatha calls it'nepathyabhinaj four kinds of costumes and make up .

used for costume are easily and directly available from nature.5 is the foundation of Theyyam philosophy in its costume and make-up. Thus the costume does the function of transforming the characters to a ritual level. For eg . caste feelings etc.ion. dynamic and three dimensional sensation to the audience. Below the waist the Tkyyam is left without much decoration except covering the part with starched cloth for elegant round shape. the Theyyams are treated as Gods or Goddesses and the officiating priest would do all the poojas (offerings) to them as to the dieties. are the basic items.4.Thi. For eg. symbolic meaning. they were elevated or merged to devotional and ritual heights. In the transformation.the costume manipulated by the artistes will provide a moving.2 Materials used. The decoration of Theyyam is done only above the person's well as symbolic meaning. charcoal ('Kari') for the black colour. 4. Tender coconut leaves. They do the function of identification. in Theyyam-decorat.dignity. The material:. Different combinations of these basic colours are also used. in hottan-h hey yam: coconut leaves are used in place of clothe and other exposed part of the body is painted with rice . turmeric for the yellow colour. By the observance of their costume and make-up. magic potency. During the ritua1. rice powder ('arichattu') for the white colour. - . 'Muchilott Bhagavati' or 'Pottan-Theyyam' are realistic charac'ters of the social order with a progressive behaviour against the upper hierarchy.

light soft-wood planks of 'murik'. All colours embody theirown meaning and concepts. The m a m the last to be integrated in the Theyyam.powder and turmeric. The materials generally used for the construction of head-dresses are arecnut.have varied meanings. The weapons used in Theyyarns .dance such as 'Vishnumoorthi'. coloured clothes and coconut-leaves are the general items for Theyyam make-up. which must have been of Theyyam. Flowers. In the performance of Theyyam.3 Significance of weapons in Theyyam. It is to be pointed out here that the ornamerlts used in Theyyam-performance became a common property This influence is due for other performing arts in Kerala. They . It is done in the solemn atmosphere of singing and n( drumnlng and dancing. Enlarged necklace and ears are made of soft wood with golden paper coating. 4. the use of ornaments and flowers is an important element. The crowning ceremony ('Mudiyettu') is done on the step (nada) infront of the installation of the main diety in the 'Kottam' or sacred grove ('Kavu').4. After the 'Mudiyettu' the Theyyam becomes the diety. Most of the ornaments are made from coconut leaves and soft wood 'murik'. The head dress is the soul s of Vaishnavaorig-in. to the acculturisation and social hierarchical domination over Theyyams. 'Daivathars' 'palott - Theyyams' n used sophosticated crowns as their head dress.

'Pallival'. facial For eg. 4.are so important that in the grove. 'Churika'. weapons are more heroic important than food itself. conch and the stool) 'Sankum peedavum' (means means the 'narikurichenezhuthu' . Women-Theyyams generally use sword. '~aduthila'. wonder. Through the and 'Mukhathezhuthu' the devotee gets a particular meaning message. The researcher is told by the informants that writings on the face symbolically evoke feeling of awe. arrow. devotion and reverence. The writings shapes of are mostly borrowed and nature to leaves. and the fromfeatures of The names of of flowers the writing reveal shape design.4. Almost all dieties use various The devotees consider them as symbols of protection and security. kinds of weapons. in Theyvams of great Bapputti told the researcher that dimensions. hence the importance of weapons in Theyyam-cult.5 'Mukhathezhuthu' This is the pictorial representation of the face of different particular Theyyams. animals. Some of the best known weapons are bow and shield and other local weapons such as sword and 'Chedakarn'. the eye 'nathum kannu' refers shape of of a kind of bird similar to owl. 'Kathi' etc. the weapons are installed to represent different dieties especially those of the Theyyams of the category of heroes. shield and knife.

by tilting the head. it allows the audience-imagination to work and really paint and play with that mask. The mask is seen beautiful but blank. 4. 1977 : 55). The second type is .4. mask doesn't change. They have also been used for religious experience as a powerful medium or mediating to the people the overpowering reality of the sacred. world. There are three types of masks (1982 : 70). the mask that completely covers the face as i n t h e chau'mask or the Balinese topeng mask or the Korean Mask or Indian -chau: Here. It must have been the archetype of modern facial have been used as means of social control They because of their awe-inspiring nature. 4.7 Types of masks and their functions i) Richard Schechner deals with various types of masks and their function in the theatre. and invites the audience to paly. writing. during performance the body including Since the the head is moved as a unit.writing after the design of the panther. Masks are sometimes used for social entertainment clowning and in baffoonery such as scaring people for fun or totemic religious rites.4. Masks are also used as a means of transformation. often the myths of the nevyams arereferrcdtosvmbolically through the facial writings.6 General functions of masks A mask is a distinguishing feature of primitive celebration. In the most general sense a mask is a disguise which covers the wearer and thereby conceals or transforms his identity (Moore.

Here the face is painted The painted so heavily that the actor has also a transformation.&gcac or ." (Schechner. To a question by Ayyappa Panikkar regarding what happens when the body is fully masked as in an attempt in a way to make Here like a wood carver. 'Madechamundi'. use intermittently in performance.Lete mask. They can use even There is a saying 'Like the paniyan who wears They. can do whatever he wants.Uthakali'.as seen in . The body-mask does the transformation of the total human being. "The transformation in Theyyarn with its fabulous hallow brings the whole environment with it. to represent the different . the 'bhava' can show through. Some Theyyams like 'Kundarachamundi.allowing the expression and improvisation (iii) the third is the facial mask or the body-mask (as Grotowski visualised in his poor theatre). face allows for more naturalistic acting. are symbols of many ideas. June 1982 : 70). vulgar language.'. Vishnu Nampoothiri points out that the 'Kolakkaran' gets more freedom when using the masks (1976 : 43). masks the arecanut sheath'..Xal&. also. The body-mask . The body-mask then allows the spectator and the performer to concentrate like a puppet on apparently simple manifestation each of which can experience.the actor the face like a solid mask. Schechner replied that in Theyyarn a full transformation into a non-human being is intended by the comp. Each of these three masks has a way of changing the face into a semiotic system or a system of poses.

The evaluation of the ma.hat people used by can see and concentrate on. The leaf contains five liyhted wicks. The lighted wicks transfer this power of the deity from the idol inside the shrine to the of ' ~ a l'i and Vishnu. The priest passes the lighted wicks over the idol of Tgevyam to transmit power.8 Properties used in Theyyam. . and-peedom. Yavanika. fire.sks in Theyyam.Bapputti told the investigator that the five lighted wicks represent the five elements. the performer receives a large banana leaf from the officiating priest. they have an important influence in the modern Malayalam Theatre which is to be studied later. is done here because. Krishnanattom .air. These elements are 'sakti' in a form t. Some of the theatrical objects which found their way intMalayalam Theatre later were used as ritual objects in Thevvam* Just before the conmencement of the singing. He also points out that the use of masks in Theyyam influenced the later classic arts like Cankakkali. water and earth. 4. The use of 'Xavanika' is there in certain Theyyams likec~annikkorumakaL. turmeric powder and a small amount of uncooked rice. the end of the 'Peedom' is mainly the Theyyams at performance. Kummatti. when they hear the complaints of the local people and try to solve them. an arecanut. five betel leaves.4.and even Cathakali. space. lamps .

4. 'kuzhal'. new technical and theatrical innovations have occurred in Theyyam. This moving lights give a metaphysical atmosphere to the whole performance.10 Musical Instruments Many kinds o f ' musical instruments are used in Thevvam performance. 'udukku'. 4.9 Lighting System Traditional lighting objects like fire.4.5. This open endedness allowed it to become a more colourful spectacle than a ritual performance. made of small bundles of dried coconut leaves etc. 4.4. . 'ilathalam' etc. 'perumbara'. Drums. are used. Consequently. conch.wicks the an dams) and 'olachoottu'. which paid oblation and offering to Theyyam prosperity in ancient days has been changed now. Its make-belief charm has been lost because of the The society for rain or scientific and economic re-setting of society. are the most popular instruments.0 Modernisation of Theyyam Raghava Payyanadu points out (1978:48) that the role of Theyyarn in ancient days was that of the saviour as well as the teacher. cherrnangalam and 'thudi'. cymbals.

and the stress on the spectacular show is given.m weeks. Thus the religious and belief-part have been stripped off.The influence of theatre is scen in Theyyam make-up too. the materials for Theyyam make-up were throw-away types. Now they use synthetic colours which are readily available in the market. like the actors in the amateur theatre. the headgears which have been made by soft wood and glitter paper now have been replaced by metal and paints. For eg. a full time job. Thle Marxist party and Sastra Sahitya Parishad make copious use of the Theyyam symbols today. during Republic day celebrations. Among the new generation of Theyyam artistes> the paintaking process for the disciplined drilling of the art of Thevvam has been vanishing. the young generation t-akes it only as a part time occupation. 'Pottan' and 'Gulikan' made of The masks of been arecanut sheaths have replaced by durable materials. In an interesting article Ashley narrates the experiences . The social and political have been drawn to it today. Contrary to the traditional performers who used the ritual performance. performed during touri!. They lack the single minded dedication as well as devotiontothe ritual art. now they try to make them durable. Formerly. for political party functions. Theyyam make-up artrstes told the investigator that there were times when they were not allowed to use colours other than those made from materials available from nature. realities of everyday world It has been taken out of temple premises.

and most of the Asura-women became widows. The term 'Mudiyettu' is derived from the carriage of 'Mudi' (crown) or removing it from the head by the performer. This ritual is conducted to appease the residing in the sacred groves.0 Mudiyettu The ritual theatre of Mudiyettu' is a typical ritual art - form for the analysis of the complex nature of the performance traditions of Kerala. 1982). In innumerable wars between Devas and Asuras.6. severe The two children in their turn lost themselves in and pleased Brahma. This was a clear illustration that ritual arts can move towards theatre. the latter was destroyed almost totally.of taking the Theyyam of ritual performance. theatre-performance. audience. and 'MuchiILott Bhagavathi' . In this art-form all the aspects of actor costume - formation. 4.6. which is usually Goddess '~ali' associated with festivals in temples. They got penance . The prominent among them were 'Darumathi' and 'Danumathi'. 4. they could please '~rahma'and win from him the boons of getting two powerful sons. The story goes on like this. the and all other concept of of the externals theatre. make-up. After a torturous and prolonged penance.1 Myth in Mudiyettu The myth associated with this ritual performance is most popular in Kerala. are inherent. Darika and Danavendra.out of its performing it within the frame of Modern Theatre (Ashley.

They brought the entire universe under their control and began to rule over the worlds. by these boons.from him the 'vara' (boons) that no man in the fourteen wor1. they proceeded on a world conquering expedition. Gangadharan says." (1987: 38). the most Nair .6. 4. The great Saint Narada reported the matter to Lord Siva who promised to take appropriate steps to annihilate the demon-kings and save the people from their tyranny and cruelty. As G. "'the myth transformed into beautiful visual art forms with t l n e aid of dramatic situation that harmoniously blend verisimil. This is the floral drawings using natural colours such as green (made put of a particular leaf dried and powdered). white (made of rice powder). o kill them. No peace loving man could live comfortably in the world.2 Rituals in 'Mudiyettu' The dramatic performance is preceeded by detailed ritual known as 'Kalamezhuthu'. 'Kalam p j a ' is performed afterwards. rice The fierce image of '~ali'isdrawn on the ground using these colours. the battle enacted in Then from Siva's third eye is born the She straight away proceeded to kill Darika in The story of the killing of Darika is dramatic here way in Mudiyettu field. lime. they Shielded forgot to include women in the periphery of the boon.itude and sense of horror. 'Kalam' to be erased is the next item when the drawing is ccmpleted. (made out of powdered turmeric. black (made of roasted and powdered paddy husk). However.4~ of the universe would be able t . yellow (made of turmeric powder) and red powder). The next cermny is . fierce 'Kali'.

The actor has to undergo a vow After which begins on the previous day of the performance. Upper Hindu Professional camunities known as 'Kurup' and ' W a r ' are in the Cochin regions the traditional performers who stage 'Mudiyettu. <~urups' .4 Traditions and perogatives 'of the actor. on '~hadrakali'describing her from top to toe is sung to the accompaniment of 'Chenda' and other percu ssion instruments. is also relevant in the study of the ritual impact on Modern Malayalam Theatre.6. He must not touch others or speak with others either in This means that transformation the 'Aniyara' or 'green room'. After the songs the 'Kalam' is erased with the tender coconut leaves used for decoration. 'Kali'.'Thiriyuzhichil' which means dancing with holding oil-soaked burning-wicks held in the hands and weilded by way of worship.he is competely transformed into an unearthly being. of the 'Veluthedan'. has already been at work. The 'Kalams' are worshipped for uprooting the evil effect of all bad spirits from their families. 4.6. He has to wear only 'the mattu' After putting on the costume and the headgear. 4. After the 'Thiriyuzhichil' the Songs in Song Then the 'pattu' begins. praise of Ganapathy on the creation of the 'pandaltgo on.3 Actor-concept in Mudiyettu The concept of the actor in the ritual theatre of Mudiyettu. taking bath in the early hours of the morning the actor pays oblation to the goddess 'Kali'. lit-thalams are put out.

Narayanakurup. the washer woman makes available a white piece of cloth which is called 'mattu' and it is further purified by Kurup.: family was studied it was revealed that the right to enact the role of Bhadrakali from generation. They do not allow other communities to get themselves involved in this theatrical arts since the traditional rights are exclusively conferred upon them. Today. . who had been the masters of martial Mudiyettu training and Kalari practices. '~urup'is a communal title given even to Marar. Those who perform now-a-days are Nairs. house When the history of 'varanattu' of Koratty enacts the role of '~ali. For eg. Thacha Kurup and Kanikurup. nephew of 'varanatt. the taken deep roots among '~udiyettu will be taken by the nephew or brothers of the head role of '~ali' of the family. 'Asari' . The 'savarnas' or the high class. namely Marar Kurup. The right to perform Mudiyettu b r a s conferred on Varanattu Kurup of Koratty Swaroopam traditionally. Another belief is that. to generation was according to matriarchical system. One is that. Ezhava. people perform 'Mudiyettu because the ritual art is conducted within the temple premises traditionally. There are certain folk traditions and beliefs which have L performers. E:zhava Kurup. But Pazhoor Damodhara Marar the great living exponent of '*iyettuf traditions have been broken because says (AI-2-3) that such of the onslaught of modernity. Kurups and blarars. in the ritual art come forward to perform the ritual. 'Kaniyan' and such other subcastes.and '~arars' in the Travancore area perform the art traditionally. all. Kurup is the title conferred upon the caste Hindu Nair. types of people who show proficiency.

Among the thirteen acting types as described by Bharata 'Kampitham' are seen in the In the 'Koodiyatta' there is a in Natyasastra.6. ' ~ n ~ i k a . ?. ' Bhava ' should be combined with emotional gestures. But it must not be pointed the out here that the pupil takes to it For this strict and systematic training for the performer is inevitable. : o r learning 'Kalamezhuthu.atvikabhinaya1 which are inevitable for its performance. 'Akampitham' and challenges and war scenes of 'Kali' anti '~arika: (combined enactment) scene of '~ali'and Darika .5 Actor training The actor in Mudiyettu should be well-versed in 'Thauryathrika' (ie. Alons with this. at least five years of training is necessary 'Kalamezhuthu' and songs that are taught first. Vadya) and also he must have the intimate knowledge of all the four elements of actions i.126 4. Bharata in Natyasastra (1. . is formal. 'Harinaplutham' etc. 3ongs anc informally from childhood (A1 2 . e. 12) stresses the need for the actor to be an all rounder. Nrithya. Geetha. It is Two years' training is needed for this. 2 ) . from the castes '~urup' and'~arars: The training is given in the houses of'Kalari ~sans: In the dance-form of 'Kuli' (N - 23) it is seen the forms 'Athikrantham'. Students in the group of ten to sixteen years are selected for training. I Mudiyettu. as described in Natyasastra (4:79). 2 ' 'Aharya'.arratiging the rhythmic movements of the steps is a must for the performer in Mudivettu .vachika'. training imparted.

.ma. or fear.6 Acting Score '~udiyettu'is a ritual dra. he 'attom' is used to express the rasas.prolonged encircling of Kali and Darika called 'Pakirithirichil1which is in tune with ' thalavadyas ' . 'Thonkaram'.It is a ritual close to the concept of theatre in many respects. the fierceness. All the three elements of But the actor The theatre (?hauryathriki) are incor. It is the scene of sharpening the weapons of ~ali' All the characters will take part in the 'Pathinjattom' of the battle scene. that all the characters show the best elements of theatre. 'Pathinjattom' 'Ilakiyattom'. Usually. 'Eratty'. 'Edakkalasam'. Angikabhinaya is divided into three 'Irunnattom'. 4. this movements. the actor has all the can whirl or jump. 'Darika' and 'Danavendra' have all these aspects of '~bhina~a'. It is very obvious from the analysis that how intensly the actor in 'Mudiyettu is prepared before the performance. After the 'Ilakiyatta'. As the battle progresses 'Pathinjattom' shifts It is in the battle scene The into 'Ilakiyattcm' which ends in 'Kdiyattcm'. need not show the gestures as in modivattom or Kathakali. there is the scene of 'Ayudhanottam' (looking into the weapons). it Kathakali MudiyeLu .6. wonder.porated into it. 'Astakalasam' etc. are taught to the people. In Mudiyettu' the character 'Kali'. Many forms of 'Kalasams ' (dance sequences) like 'Vattakalasam'. can be pointed out that all form:. of 'Kalasams' in might have been refined forms taken from Here. and 'Darika'. freedom of In the 'Ilakiyai:tom8.

trespasses towards a kind of trance. getting trance. When asked about the transformat. i feel the transformation already taking place in me.6. In the challenging and fighting scenes of '~ali' and '~arika' the. "I usually enact the role of Kali.. questions. But all the while. But I feel this kind of transformation is not good for the performance". Transformation and transportation of the performer. advice. He does not dance like other characters. He says that the breaking . there had an incident that in to an actual Kali actually killed Darika. though some times i t . labhinayasslyles prescribed by Bharatha 'Akampitha' and 'Kampitha' are shown like giving hints. instructs etc. .. there is also the feeling of the actor in me. I have the feeling I should make my performance of Mudiyettu successful as spectacle. 4.Thus Mudi~ettu has got a systematic acting-score. 2 .7. .Even when I begin the 'Vrithanustana'..ion and transportation while enacting. are shown by the heads ('Akampithabhinayal)= In the fighting styles of '~ali' and '~arika'various movements and steps of 'Kalari' are incorporated* The character Koimpidanayar acts with rhythmetic steps. In Pallippattu. The main characters in Mudiyettu show great 'bhavabhinay. While I perform the role of Kali.Damodara Marar stated this (AI.two styles of '~oodi~attom' 'Vikshepam Veesuka' '~ranguperumattom' (Behaviour on the stage) are incorporated in to Mudiyettu-.4 ) .

For this the sword in the hands of Kali would be made to pierce on the ground. Another 'Koolies'. .' In between them there are '~oolies with their ridiculous gestures. He is actually 'Nandikesa' (the carriage of Siva) who comes to aid and appease Kali. though Kali. Damodhara Marar (A-12. who imitates what all things he enacts in the performance. S.8 The actor thereby regains his self. 24) He comes to the stage like a nayar-chieftain and poses questions to the'melakkars' and converses with them. From Ritual to Theatre in Eudiyettuq How the ritual performance of '~udiyettu'comes almost The the near to theatre is illustrated by the following examples. Nayar says that the character reminds us of 'Ittikkandappakaimal' in 'Yatrakali' (N. and brought under control. He also dilutes the fierce tempo of the enactment. by providing comic relief to the audience through his comic dialogues. without any external aid. 4.K.up of the balance of the performer happens because of the The transportation takes place breaking up of the 'rhythm'. powerful In the dramatic function is carried out by the fighting scene '~ali' stands with anger and Darika is positioned in the middle of the stage ready to fight with'~a1i. social criticisms During this time he lets loose a volley of against the society. when out of control should be physically held by other!.8) says that this character has got a dramatic function in the myth itself. theatrical quality of this ritual is illustrated in introduction of the unritualistic character 'Koimpadanayar' in the third scene of Mudiyettu .6.

8) and ' ~oim~adanayar' in pludiyettu . 'Pattarum-Pennum'. as a spectator : j a participant.Koolies are laughing and foolishly behaving. . vulgarity obscenity incorporated. G. He is a believer here.achieved by an aesthetically contrasting mixture of the sublime as well as the ridiculous (1990 : 3 8 5 ) .6. and therefore. Sankara Pillai points out that it provides an extra-ordinary theatrical beauty to the whole performance. this introduced? the ritual arts? Why is Is this against the ethos of spirituality in Has it got connection with therapeutic aspect of drama as with Artistotle or ~reud't Here it is worthy to quote Ranjini and Gananath: "Ritual drama is In a this collective case. 3. in 'Padayani (A 11. the characters are Here the performance is The above the secular and mundance world. could not an that individual. he involves he witnesses the enactment and a himself in the religious act. Mudiyettu . Catharsis: a theatre-function 4. we phenomenon. of characters can be seen in classical I These two extremes as well as folk traditions. There.9 The performance of ritual arts are generally at the contexts of a religious tradition. ritualistic and not secular. there is 'no willing suspension of disbelief' as in theatre. sequence But we see in of satire. This actually brings the ritual arts closer to Theatre.Theyyam or Padayani or the irreverance . say .as in the characters 'Paradesi'. or it is supposed to be so. audience here is both participant and spectator.

It is interesting to note here that how the veteran Pazhoor Damodara Marar tried to take this traditional ritual art-form almost closer to a theatre performance and to analyse his experiences. this form ' ~ a m ~ o o r Mudiyettu n~ he created a sacred . (AI. It is therefore fair to say that humour in ritual drama is a form of catharsis. 2-13). the catharsis occurs through the Aristotilian process. vicariously The group by virtue of a shared participates in the ritual enactment and purges t h e : i r own internal terrors and (1976:69) anxiety through communally shared humour. For the movement of 'Vethala' grove where Vethala . He tried to present it like a He calls theatre-form without losing its ritual qualities. Sampoorna Mudiyettu. 4. Ritual towards theatre.psychological anxiety endemic to the group or a source of group concern is handled through obscenity in drama. But here we have to remember also that in some ritual dramas where this ritual element is not. the emotions of pity and terror are aroused and subsequently purged at the culmination of the drama. what happens in Mudiyettu and padayani > This is . there.6.10 Mudiyettu as Theatre. religion. there the audience identify themselves with the mythological characters represented on the stage." Here the comic catharsis is almost reverse of tragic catharsis.

thus. it was the artist who succeeded the theatre in this in its presentation. The above example inevitably leads us to a question of the director in a ritual art-form. It was a tremendous success as a spectacle. The whole performance was conducted under his leadership. It was presented for about six hours with thirty two actors through thriteen scenes. It is through him the problems of the society are solved. the audience here is less a .He witnesses that - ritual art form got projected and won success. 4. or the grand father or the uncle of the performer.11 The ConceDt of the director in Mudiyettu. Here. He has got a high status in a society.7. He would be invited 'evento the functions of the upper class society. should be an expert in 'Kalamezhuthu pattu . This had been a great example how a ritual can be taken to theatre with success. He told the investigator that more than the devotee in him. the ritual art becomes an integral part of the society. Through him. the ritual aspect lingered in the background.0. 4. In Theyyam it is the father. or 'Mudiyettu'..meets 'Kali' and offers his help to her to kill Darika. The leader or 'the Asan' as he is called . himself was.6. it is the head of the family as Pazhoor. He is the soul of the art-form-like the director in a theatre. Audience in Mudiyettu As in all ritual performance.

Had is the devotional elements in them it been a theatre-event. 4. and the majority. as they come with of serving 'penance' or 'vrithas'.for them it is not an . These people never enactment of 'Mudiyettu get tired of seeing the same through five or six days. Obviously. They go to witness Mudiyettu as devotees.1 Audience-Status The main section of the audience will be Hindus as they alone or temple premises. they would have become bored. There would be : l e managers and the family members at three types of audience. they experience of have come here to share the metaphysical unknowingly enjoy the devotion* But they theatrical aspects in it.7.2Audience belief. because there (A1 2-71.spectator and more a participant. But as Pazhoor points out they are more devotees. The actors and the audience are in an environmental theatre as M i y e s t u is often or in temple premises. although theatrical entertainment is provided (as through 'Koimpidanayars' and '~oolies). The performed in 'Sacred groves ( K ~ I V U ) vast expanse is taken as the venue of the performance-place. Nayars and upper class people just behind them. 'Ezhunnellippu' and 'Mudiyettu' as in a theatre. They enjoy the spectacles of rituals like 'Thalappoli'.7. 'Kalampattu'.the upper class will fo. t the front. 'Kalamezhuthu'. allowed to enter these '~avus' ~indus. Amony the are. But. the workers who remain as mere spectators at the back. the spectators here have come not for theatrical experiences.

Sexual relationship between man and woman is blantantly referred to colloquial slangs. The audience here is 'static' in the sense that they repeatedly like to witness the ritual of 'Mudiyettu'. a hilarious atmosphere. ob~scene comments etc. There will punning upon words..) around the audience. sitting on the peedom. t. Kali does this performance* Then she receives 'Dhakshina'. which provide. The interpolation of comic episodes and such situations in the course of the ritual intensity. This communication is heightened more by the theatrical arrangement of performance. In the fifth scene 'Vedala' with a torch in his hand approaches the audience and asks for 'Kaineettom' (offering of money) from the audience. heightens dramatxc mundane section give of the This provides amusement to the lingos used in the be spectators. The different exist and entry passages. The comic effect is heightened in the scene of coming of a man into a new . As in environmental is the actor audience communication taking place in Mudiyettu. This is done as a comic enactment. illness etc. The to the dialogues amusement spectators.entertainment. . Kali whirls her torch ipandam. After the killing Of Darika. but a offering worship- It is performed for often as an the cure of for begetting children. In the refrains of the battle scenes also. different levels the divine location etc. spoonarisum. employment. that all the bad elements due to the rule of Darika is exorcised. - . This is the symbol. are skilgully made use of by the performers.

Darika puts on a costume reminding the 'Kathiveksha' of Dhuryodhana or Ravana.8. Another white cloth is used as a long under garments '~hurukas'. Costumes -in 'Mudiyettu' - Theatre functions.form still usually further.tridents are held in both hands. 'Thechi' flowers will be used as a ring in the left hand. when it is enacted in Mudiyettu 'Kavu' the emotional involvement is heightended. The dramatic appeal of Mudiyettu' is by far augmented by a convincing transformation of men i. Audience participation* Influence of Myth The influence myths the contained in t l h e of ritual art .7. He adorns himself with 'uttariyam'.n to Devas and Asuras by the ingeni. to make up elevated buttocks. participation the audience '~arika ~ a d h d (killing of Darika) is a myth that forms popular ritualistic art-forms in Kerala. make-up.1. rings and bangles are used as ornaments. . The head-gear and face-palinting is almost the same. The myth is very popular in Kerala because of the innumerable goddess.4. The back portion of the White cloth is folded many times costume is that of the '~hak~ar'. as the audience is already familiar with the myth.temples and (sacred groves ).ous use of costumes. costume and choreographic patterns. 4. Thus. This: is evident from the visual level masks. through riitual and through theatre the actor-audience relationship is established in ~udiyeftu . 4. the shawl which is pure white cloth.locality without knowing the colloquial language there and tries to communicate.

~ o i r n ~ i d a r' 'v. will be f i e r c e . t h e The w a i s t . . The costume o f ' ~ a r a d a ' i s v e r y s i m p l e w h i t e dress. V e l a k a l i i s used 'Uthakali'. Red i s used f o r 'Danavendra'on t h e f a c e a s h e i s a demon. The ' ~ o o l i e s w ' i l l h a v e o n l y b l a c k costumes. A p a s t e made o f lime is used to give shape to the face what is called ' C h u t t i k u t h a l ' .K a l i w i l l b e p u t t i n g on t h e costume n e x t . The costume of ' ~ a n a v e e r a 'o r ' ~ a n a v e n d r a ' . t h r e e of the h e l p of 'Thechi' them.d r e s s elder brother of Dharika i s green i n colour.t. The ' u d u t h u k e t t u ' o f 'Darika. > ' ~ i n u k k u ' ~eksham'. The appearance 'arimavu'. t h e r e would b e a p a l m .l e a f i n h i s hands. The f a c e w i l l be r i c e powder and completely darkened w i t h ' K a r i ' . H a i r d r e s s i s t h e same as cloth is h i s Beard For used i n ' W h a k a l i ' . Then the other characters would be Siva.h e f a c e would be o f H a i r d r e s s i s t h a t of f o r Koimpatanayar. Costume o f shield i n l e f t hand and s h a r p p o i n t e d s m a l l sword i n r i g h t hand and t u r b a n on t h e head. Curved l o n g t e e t h i s drawn on e i t h e r s i d e over t h e red l i p s .e t h a l a ' and ' ~ o o l i 'w i l l be costumed. like ' ~ a r a d a .p i t s o r pox marks. and jaw w i t h (rice flour). bhanava . 'Grantha' i s w h i t e . Black i s a p p l i e d . f l o w e r i s r i p p e d and a f f i x e d on t h e on t h e n e c k . The h e a d g e a r w i l l b e a l m o s t l i k e a n a r c h d e c o r a t e d w i t h 'Kuruthola' like that ( t e n d e r c o c o n u t l e a v e s ) . T u r m e r i c powder and l i m e m i x t u r e l i n e s a r e g i v e n on t h e f a c e i n between numerous w h i t e d o t e s t o r e s e m b l e s m a l l p o x . on t h e n o s e . S i v a and ' ~ o i m ~ i d a n a ~ a . f o r e h e a d . i s l i k e t h a t of f o l d e d costume o f ' ~ a r i k a ' .

Tender coconut leaves. garlands and twigs of plants adorn the waist -dress. 8 . bunches of flowers made in to enters with a long pointed garlands over the breasts. the ornaments and coloura of the characters in Mudivett_u . Face will be blackened first and multi-coloured dots will be marked on it. The costume of Kathakali the waist. 'Chuttikkaran' creates the dramatic concept of 'Mudiyettu' through his costume design. The style of costume The would be to give the impression of the unworldliness. The dreiss is made up of dried plantain-leaf etc. Breasts are' moulded by fixing coconut shell-halves on the chest. the breast. leaves multicoloured jackets on coconut around neck. of Aharyabhinaya. 'Mudiyettu Mudivettu reminds us of the costume of Chakyarkoothu below above the waist and those of Kathakali might have adopted these costumes from . He must know about the different aspect:. He is .on the face. The influence of the ancient theatrical art-form of m o t ivattom and Chakyar K o o s u can be traced in the presentation 4 .' stick and branches of tress in his hands. flower garlands. Many tender neck ornaments. 'vethala. 2 Chuttikkaran (make-up _man! > All the costumes in Mudi~ettu are done by the Chuttikkaran (make-up artistlwho is an expert in the field. It is he who selects the dress.

4. These three stage props have been taken here for special study because they have great bearings upon the Modern Malayalam Theatre. 'Thellippodi' for the entrance of '~alj. Now. In traditional theatre-forms of Kerala. ~hirassila' is t I r used. In the texture of ritual arts of Kerala. the place of certain articles like 'Yavanika' '1?eedom1 and 'Nilavilakku' have significant theatrical functions.i4udiyettu .. there had never been the habit of separating the performer from the audience. The use of 'Yavanika' has got a great theatrical function in 'uudiyettu'. Chummar opines that '~hirassili was not used formerly in 'rnliyettu' (1950:214).the artist as well as the craftsman who designs the theatre of . This may be because of the infrluence of Koodiyattgm and yrishnanattom. .8. for the entrances of important characters like '~ali' and Darika. Pazha'or says that during early days it was pure white cloth with no border or any other decoration that was used as the 'Thirassila' then. But now-a-days 'the '~hirassila'has undergone many modifications and has been made as attractive as that of Kadhakali .3Properties used a7 the staae. ? Those who hold 'Thirassila' should also shout cheers and shoilld sprinkle rice powder.

It is held almost up to the waist of Sivau Above it Siva will be holding the head of a wooden ox. and 'the asthamayaparvatham' and the distant 'Yamakoodaparvatham'. Behind theryavanika Kali will be standing. In the traditional art-forms this is done not in the realistic way. The first scene in Mudiyettu happens in 'Kailasam'. It is supposed that '~arikaiis challenging Kali from above 'the udayaparvatham'. The intimation of these different places and the sequence of events should be conveyed to the audience. and then both characters come .4. The 'Yavanika' gives us the hint that Kali is somewhere there. the entrances are very important.8. Here the use of 'Thirassila' is pertinent. Another function of 'Yavanika' is to project the entrance of important characters. In the first scene of Mudiyettu Siva and Narada are appearing. replying to the challenges of'~arika'. An ingenious. The second scene is presenting Darika conquest. He will be moving this on the edge Of 'Thirassila' from right to left. there would be the wooden head of an ox. First Siva would show his head above it. In the hands of Siva. forward and backward. As the stage is very vast. use of 'Yavanika' is seen here. the back at the audience.5Theatrical function of 'Yavanika' The different episodes of the story to be enacted might have been happening in different places. Siva is on his carriage Nandikesan and Narada complaints to Siva reading a 'Varola'.

t h e a t r i c a l c o n t e x t s . This is repeated becomes a part. f o r t h e f i r s t e n t r a n c e of I t must be 'Darika' and 'Danavendra'. 'Yavanika' s u c h a f u n c t i o n i s g i v e n ( N o t e 2 5 ) . t h i s i s used. 'Yavanika' i s u:jed a s a p a r t o f a c t i o n sometimes. p o r t i o n of it i s p r o j e c t e d t h r o u g h t h e u s e of 'Yavanika'. Then ' K a l i ' s t r i k e s a t 'Darika ' who d i s a p p e a r s behind t h e c u r t a i n . empty s p a c e becomes p a r t o f t h e s t a g e . 'Kooli' . Thus t h e importance of the f i r s t character is shown t h r o u g h 'Yavanika' . b Thus i n t h e a c t i o n In the changing theatre c o n t e x t of importance. 4.8. of t h e s t a g e . d o e s n o t have stage. ' ~ a v a n i k a 'i s : u s e d . i n t h e modern . Now. entrance of a is not an innportant character.6 'Yavanika' a s a [ ) a r t o f a c t i o n .to the front. royal s t a t u r e t o t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' ~ a r i k a 'and I t i s i n t h e movements it i s p r o v i d i n g a 1 Danava' a t t h e t i m e o f t h e i r entrances. t h a t f o r t h e e n t r a n c e o f 'Koimpidanayar: as he said here 'Yavanika' For area the i s n o t used.. I n t h e s p e c t a c u l a r and 'Yavanika' was in stylised ritual art-forms. 3 'Yavanika' i n t h e modern r e a l i s t i c f u n c t i o n on t h e I t d o e s t h e s y m b o l i c f u n c t i o n on t h e s t a g e i n most c a s e s . sequence 'Yavanika' today. Thus i n t h e v a s t . t h e u s e of a s t y l i s e d manner. Similarly. Here lowing the 'Yavanika' 'Darika' views ' ~ a l i ' . For e g . How ' ~ a v a n i k a becomes ' meeting p o i n t a part of action is seen at the of b a r i k a ' and ' ~ a l i . therefore. t h e concept of symbols 'Natyadharmi' actions i s g i v e n much Even an projecting evolved.

functions. it is firstly used to project the characters on the stage. It becomes sometimes a throne. In 'Mudiyettu .8. it does nothavea realistic function on the stalge. In the spectacular (and stylised ritual art-forms. It does the ~iymbolicfunction on the stage on most cases. In the challenging scene of barika' with '~ali. the use of 'Yavanika' had a stylised function. 4. The symbolic use of this 'peedomt is carried on to the modern Malayalam Theatre. therefore. in the modern concept of 'Natyadharmi' theatre the role of 'Yavanika' is great* It is in the simplicity of its use and its functions on the stage the importance of 'Yavanikat lies. 11.we see its skilful use. the more ingenious and theatrical use of peedom can be seen. is used not only for the mere '~ilavilakku' or kalivilakk. a garden bench etc.theatrical contexts. (AI-2-10). function of illuminating the stage. Kathakali and In Koodiyatt-om . It may be used for the temporary retreat of characters.8 Nilayilakku' -. Standing ~n this peedom.8. It contributes to the dramatic elements of the performance. many a time. Pazhoor also stresses the theatrical function* of 'Yavanika' more than its ritual functions.7 Peedom The theatrical function of 'Peedom' in 'pudiyettu' is very significant. symbolises sometimes hills and mountains. as refined planes. It has a ritualistic or holy . 4. '~arika challenges Kali'. theatre.

(N. in Mudivettu Pazhoor points out that the holy lamp 'Siva' and not symbolises the All mighty God Ganapathi as in other ritual arts. Narayana ~isharadi in his translation of Natyasastra tells us that by throwing 'Thellippodi' on the burning torches sound should be produced. throwing 'Thellippodi' on the burning torches. as they have a holy conception of it. the elaborate and splendi. During the fighting scene. after them with burning his heel. Kali The torch-bearers have to rush The intensity of the torches. Evenbefore .P. The theatrical function of focusing the attention of the audience on the subtle variations of emotions on the faces of the characters. Its metaphysical effect is shared by the audience. 27) 4. and five-wicked torches are used to give light and shade of the performance Mudiyettu of is Cudiyettu the whole .9 The lighting in "~udiyettu' . is also achieved by 'Kalivilakku'. The performance or space of temple premises sacred grove. The natural lighting pattern in wonderful effect to its performance.meaning on the stage.d costume of the characters is very high.10 Music in Mudiyettu Music is given great importance in 'Mudivettu .8. The aesthetic effect it provides to the flesh-painting.2-10). Mudiyet&u provides a The darkness as well as 'Torches' light can contribute to the conveyance of emotion.him through this space. Darika takes to follows. fierceness of the whole sequence is heightened by K.8. (Note 26) (A1 4.

.' cannot remain only as a It can withstand the spectacle as all ritual arts are (AI.. In '~rangukeli' 'Chenda'. The first challenging call of Darika would be in 'Anandabhairavi'. 'Kurumkuzhal' etc. ' urukkuchenda ' . 'Entrance of '~arika: 'Urukkuchenda'. 'Sankarabharkamt will be sung. it intensifies the theatrical quality of the performance.28). Pazhoor believes that '-$. During 'Kompu'.. Elathalam' . similar to ('Bhupala').2. 'savari'.the recitation of 'Aranguvazhthal'. In the dialogue between Siva and Narada.. 'Elathalam' are used.9.. There are no separate singers for '~udivettu'. 4. 'Kurumkuzhal'.The 'vaddyakkars''sing and some times even the actors sing. killing of '~arika'. the instruments 'Kompu'.inthe rituals. Dialogue of Siva and '~aradha). During the challenge scenes.12). 'Madhalam'. 'Elathalam'. In 'aranguvazhthal' . 'Veekkanchenda'. 'Sanku'. and Kali and Darika. I The musical instruments used are 'Chenda'.(~. there would be particular I ragas' used. .the blessing of Kali 'Veekkanchenda' and 'Elathalam' are used. the 'ragas of 'Natta'. and '~lathalam' are and 'Chenda' are used. the second in 'Puraneevu' (because it is in the early morning) a 'rag. 'Sanku'. An analysis of the application of music in u shows that along with ritual elements. During erasement of 'Kalam' 'Sanku' and 'Veekanchenda' are used.phases .0 The changing . During 'Kalampattu' only ' Chenda' and 'Elathalam' are used. of 'Mudiyettu'.Even . 'Kalampooja' and 'Thiriuzhichil'. onslaught of time only with the ritualistic elements in it.

(AI-2-11]. admitting that he is not familiar with modern trends of Malayalam Drama opines that. it to the outside world. The improvements in Mudiyettu cannot be done with the erosion of rituals in it. Vaikom under the Travancore Devaswom Board. to re novate it and project. Now it is taught in Shektra Kala Peedom. in general. Through an intimate acquaintance with the ritual art. he can develop a new Theatre-culture. The concept of time and space involved in the ritual arts can be a model for the theatre-worker of today. Pazhoor. Ritual arts. But they cannot depend on the ritual art-formfortheir livelihood. For this he can draw . his aspiration. as it is only seasonal. the performer enjoys immense freedom.Pazhoor suggests that all the groups which are conducting Mudiyet. the dramatic elements and spectacular aspects in u can provide immense knowlege to the modern theatre-worker.(1) In Muvattupuzha (2) Pazhoor and ( 3 ) Koratti.' should come together.1Theatre lessons from 'Mudiyettut-~nalysis. it can be presented only with a ritualistic atmosphere. The modern director has to express the emotional as well as the inner meaning of the play. 4. fears. The motif of the costume is based on imaginative visiona Within the codified acting style (score). Today there are three families conducting -MudiyetW'. wishes and disappointments. provide us with an awareness connected with the life of man in its totality.if it is taken out of the temple premises.9.

of the ritual arts.inspiration from the scenic design. How the 'Lokhadharmi' and 'Natyadharmi' be mixed for the effective theatrical presentation is the powerful core of the ritual art$# . costume etc. rhythm. action.