Kutiyattam is one of the surviving theatrical art forms of Sanskrit theatre. This art form which dates back to 2,000 years is considered as the mother of all dances. UNESCO has declared Kutiyattam as one of the masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage tradition of humanity.
As its words suggest in Malayalam, it is an art form in which ‘acting together’ takes place. Kutiyattam is performed in Koothambalams, which are traditional theatres inside temple compounds. Today it is performed on public stages as well. For performing Kutiyattam, stories are taken from Sanskrit plays and a single act is transferred into a full fledged performance.
The musical instruments used in Kutiyattam are Mizhavu, thimila, kurumkuzhal, sankhu and edakka. Varied costumes portraying different characters are also used, for instance, noble characters are portrayed in Pacha, noble and heroic in Pazhukka, valorous but vicious in Kathi, simple and female in Minukku, for three monkey characters Thadi and Kari for demonesses like Surpanakha.
Though Sanskrit is the major linquistic medium the Vidushaka or jester gives a verbal narration in Malayalam.
In this video Kalamandalam Sivan Nampoothiri’s performance as Parvati in Parvativiraham can be seen. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva.