What is Kerala Theyyam?

A research article suggests folk theatre forms such as Tamil Nadu’s thenukoothu, and theyyam and yakshagana of neighbouring States all had a common point of origin before branching out to become what they are today. This seems fairly accurate if something even as basic as the make-up and costume are anything to go by- they are elaborate. But since they branched out, the performances have their differences too. Theyyam is a form of ritualistic open theatre usually performed in front of a shrine. While the history, culture, and themes surrounding this theatre can fill pages of several books. what is incredible about theyyam is how it changes the caste equation, albeit temporarily in a theyyam performance, the artiste becomes a deity, and these performers have invariably belonged to the Scheduled Caste. But so long as the performance lasts. the performer-the deity”-is revered while everyone else, irrespective of their caste, is reduced to just a mass of collective reverence. And wordlessly if momentarily, the ritual dissolves the caste system.

Picture Credit : Google 

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