A preliminary session of music, called keli, in the evening announces the performance usually starting around 10 at night. An actor enters in the beginning and performs benediction by singing in praise of God and the audience. He also apologizes in advance for all shortcomings in presentation. As in Kathakali, the two main musicians stay at the back. They ask questions at the characters, who reply. The plot unveils through these questions and answers.
There are many characters, all drawn from ordinary life. These can be named as Vannan and Vannatti i.e. washerman and washerwoman, Kuravan and Kuratti i.e. gypsies, Komali i.e. jester and Pukkari or flower girl. The stories are woven from their rustic experiences, incorporating many situations of fun, satire, and social criticism. The main musicians control the actors by questioning, singing, directing them to enter or exit, and editing the enacted scenarios. They use the mridangam or double-faced drum, kaimani or cymbals, srutibox or drone, and chaplamkatta i.e. two wooden pieces held by the fingers of the right hand to mark time.
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