Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thatlappoli Festival: Theeyattu

Nayarambalam Bhagavathy Temple Festival (Thalappoli Utsavam) starts with Theeyattu. It is ritualistic art which is presented as if Bhadrakali is reporting the incidents leading to the killing of Darikasura to her father, Lord Siva, represented here by the lighted torch.
The performance part of the art is done by a single actor called Theeyattunni. He enters the venue, lighted by a huge oil torch, with the make up of Goddess Bhadrakali, minus the headgear. He chants several hymns invoking the benevolence of various gods for the success of the performance and welfare of the audience. He wears the huge headgear in front of the audience. From that moment onwards he represents the goddess.
The performance develops through several chants, dances of thandava style, gestures and gesticulations. The gestures are rarely in strict accordance with Hastha Mudras of classical dance. The script, prose or verse, of the goddess is rendered by the actor, whereas all others are rendered by one of the accompanists.
The act is concluded by the enacting of the killing of Darikasura, representing the destruction of evil.

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