Dance & Theatre
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Preliminaries for a Kutiyattam performance

Elaborate stage settings and preparations are needed for the performance of Kutiyattam, the classical Sanskrit dance drama of Kerala. The performance commences by dusk. The stage will be decorated with palm fronds, flowers and auspicious things. A large wick lamp will be lighted on the stage and a chair will be placed in the middle of the stage. Just behind the main stage there will be a wooden compartment to place Mizhavu, the main percussion instrument. Two Nangiars sit on the floor on a folded white cloth to play ilathalam and to sing. The Mizhavu performer begins percussing and after a while, a colourful curtain is held up, so as to initiate the entry of the character.