KATTAIKKUTTU is a rural theatre form practiced in the State of Tamil
Nadu in South
* 1 History * 2 Repertory * 3 Style * 4 About the Gurukulam * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
Kattaikkuttu derives its name from the word _kattai_, which refers to the special ornaments worn by the actors during performances; _kuttu_ refers to theatre. The audience recognizes the various characters by the shapes of their head wear and their make-up.
Kattaikkuttu has been performed in rural
Many traditional performances center on the enactment of parts of the
Mahabharata ; a few plays have
A few of the core plays of the traditional Kattaikkuttu repertory are:
* _The Bending of the Bow_ or _
Draupadi ’s Marriage_
Subhadra ’s Marriage_
* _The Royal Sacrifice_
* _The Disrobing of Draupadi_
Arjuna ’s Penance_
* _Kichaka’s Battle_
Kattaikkuttu is usually performed in a religious setting and performances take place overnight: they start around 10pm and run until 6am the next morning. The occasions for Kattaikkuttu performances can be divided into the following categories:
* Paratam (Mahabharata) festivals in honor of the Goddess * Other village festivals such as those for Mariyamman, Ankalamman, Shiva and Vishnu * Rites of individuals such as death rites * Secular occasions e.g. cultural festivals
The Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam is regularly visited by prominent scholars in the theatre world--for example, Bennington College professor Sue Rees regularly visits the school to produce short videos and documentaries which feature various Kattaikkuttu works.
Kattaikkuttu derives its name from the fact that a specific category of actors wear the so-called _kattai_ or _kattai samankal_. Kattai are wooden head, shoulder and the breast ornaments inlaid with mirror work. The kattai represent power, heroic qualities and royalty. The kattai-wearers represent superhuman – divine or demonic – warriors who are the main agents in the mythological battles around which the performances are built.
The _acting arena_ is an open rectangular ground and the audience sits on three sides of the ground. The singers and the instrument players occupy the rear of the stage. The play begins with a musical introduction and songs in praise to several different deities. The first character to appear on stage is the clown or _Kattiyakkaran_ (literally _Praise Maker_). The Kattiyakkaran is central to Kattaikkuttu performances: he provides entertainment, serves as the guardian of and opposite number for the principal characters and translates events from the epic and Puranic stories into everyday life experiences of the rural audiences. After his comic introduction, the Kattiyakkaran announces the title of the play to be performed and the entry of one of the principal characters. The stage entry of most kattai characters takes place behind a curtain held across the stage by two assistant performers. Such a _curtain entry_ requires the actor to perform a prescribed routine of songs and dance. All Kattaikkuttu actors sing themselves, supported by the chorus.
ABOUT THE GURUKULAM
The _ Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam_ was founded in October 2002 by actor, playwright and director _P. Rajagopal_ and _Dr. Hanne M. de Bruin_ to preserve and enhance the scope of the Kattaikkuttu theatre and safeguard the artistic and economic position of its future exponents. The students are marginalized, young rural people between 5 and 20 years with a keen interest in the theatre form. Located 8 kilometers away from Kanchipuram in a small village called Punjarasantankal, the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam follows the guru-shishya system of transmission. This means that students and teachers are in constant close contact with each other in formal and non-formal settings. The Gurukulam's students are tutored in life and in all aspects of the Perungattur style of Kattaikkuttu apart from receiving a formal education.
The Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam comes under the auspices of the Kattaikkuttu Sangam. It runs its own theatre company, the Kattaikkuttu Young Professionals consisting of senior students and graduates of the Gurukulam. The girl students of the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam have their own ensemble, the Kattaikkuttu All-Girls Company, which serves as a laboratory to experiment with gender sensitive issues.
* ^ Jackie Assayag (1999). _The Resources of history: Tradition, narration and nation in South Asia_. École française d'Extrême-Orient. ISBN 978-2-85539-607-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Bruin, Hanne M de (1999). _Kattaikkuttu: The flexibility of a south Indian theatre tradition_. E. Forsten. pp. 85–99. ISBN 978-90-6980-103-2 . OCLC 42312297 . * ^ Bruin, Hanne M. de (2000). "Naming a theatre in Tamil Nadu". _Asian Theatre Journal_. 17 (1): 98–122. doi :10.1353/atj.2000.0001 . * ^ Bruin, Hanne M de (1999). _Kattaikkuttu: The flexibility of a south Indian theatre tradition_. E. Forsten. pp. 113–124. ISBN 978-90-6980-103-2 . OCLC 42312297 . * ^ Bruin, Hanne M. de (1998). " Karna Moksham or Karna's Death: A Play by Pukalentippulavar". du Département d'Indologie. * ^ Bruin, Hanne M de (1999). _Kattaikkuttu: The flexibility of a south Indian theatre tradition_. E. Forsten. pp. 111–1