With the spread of Christianity, Chavittu Natakam, one of a colorful theatre form flourished at Kodunngalloor in Kerala. This dance form had been introduced by the Portuguese. The originators of this art form are Chinna Thampi Pilla and Vedanayakan Pilla. The Effect of western visual opera can be clearly depicted through this art form.
About the dance
Chavittu Natakam is a folk art form that is famous for its admirable makeup and costumes of the characters. The artists’ fine movements of the body and detailed gestures are one of the attractive factors. Chavitttu Natakam was also influenced by the Kathakali and Kalaripayattu dance forms. The ‘Thattu’ adds another wonderful feature to the dance. ‘Thattu’ means the stage which is laid with wooden planks and the dancers stamp the floor and produce resonating sounds therefore this is also called Stamping Drama.
The costume and makeup
The characters on the stage wear exquisite costumes that resemble ancient Greek-Roman soldiers and European kings.
Instruments that are usually used for the background music are Padathamber, Maddalam, Chenda, and Ilathalam, but nowadays Tabala, Fiddle, Flute, and Bulbul are also used.
The stage performance
The Virutham (invocation) is used to start the performance. The durbar scene begins with a humming and later on the play begins. The artists express the dialogues like a song loudly followed by exaggerated gestures and stamp the floor with great force. The quality of the character is expressed by stamping or ‘Chavittu’ as there is a difference in stamping for good and the bad characters. The women characters also stamp the floor, but lightly. ‘Daveedhum Goliyathum’ (David and Goliath), ‘Veerayodhakkalude Anthyam’ (Death of Great warriors), and ‘Marthoma Sandesam’ (Message of St. Thomas) are some of the famous plays.
To learn dance online, please contact us.