Chakyar Koothu

Chakyar Koothu, this is a very ancient performing arts form of Kerala. It is a kind of mono act. It is the traditional equivalent of a stand-up comic act. However, unlike the stand-up comics, the performer has a wider leeway in that he can heckle the audience. It is one of the oldest of theatrical arts peculiar to Kerala. This is performed by the members of the Chakkiar caste. The term Koothu literally means dance which may be taken as an index of the importance attached to dance in the original form of the art. As a matter of fact, the movements and facial expressions and the signs and gestures employed by the actor in Koothu are said to approximate most closely to the principles laid down in the authoritative Sanskrit treatise on the subject, Bharatha's Natya Sastra. In Chakkiar koothu, the story is recited in a quasi-dramatic style with emphasis on eloquent declarations with appropriately suggestive facial expressions and hand gestures. The only accompaniments are the cymbals and the drum known as the Mizhavu, made of copper with a narrow mouth on which is stretched a piece of parchment.