Kutiyattam is widely acknowledged as the only living link to India’s ancient theatrical tradition. While its origins are hazy, it is said to have an unbroken history of around two thousand years, combining old Sankrit theatre with the regional forms of Kerala. It has its own distinctive theatrical conventions and improvisations, with highly sophisticated facial expressions and a fluent vocabulary of gestures.
Kutiyattam elaborates action by extending the performance score to heights of imaginative fancy. Ever since it ventured outside Kerala’s temple-theatres in the 1950s, it has been appreciated by a wider circle of connoisseurs, and challenged by shifting systems of patronage. This book discusses the theory and practice of the art form and aims to introduce Kutiyattam to a larger readership.