The first social play in Malayalam may be said to be Mariamma (1903) by Kocheeppan Tharakan. Then there was the beginning of Tamil Theatre - tradition which owes its origin to the revival of Carnatic Music, by the then King of Travancore, Swathy Thirunal. During this time the decorative elements of Parse Theatre also had been fairly pronounced on the Malayalam theatre. Struck by the feeling that this imitative trend was inferior to the native culture, some outstanding playwrights of the time wrote some notable plays of the early period. Some of the important plays are Sangeethanaishatham by T.C. Achuthamenon, Sadarma by K.C. Kesava Pillai, Pakkanarcharitham by Vidwan Kelunayar. It was at this time that the Chavuttunatakam and Kalaripayattu elements found their way into the theatre of Malayalam. While opposing that the origin of Malayalam Theatre can be traced in Kathakali, Koothu or Sankakkali, C.J. Thomas tries to trace it in Sanskrit, Tamil and English traditions (1950). He claims that a successful theatre form came into existence only with the coming of the Portuguese, in Jenova Natakam (Chavittunatakam). A study of the plays of this period does not reveal the theatrical functions of rituals being utilised.
Plays with the influence of Sanskrit language or Tamil language, introduced 'Nandi', 'Rangapooja' and 'Vidushaka'. But in them the introduction of rituals was only on the peripheral level. In Mariamma which is considered to be one of the first accomplished plays in Malayalam language an exorcist ritual was introduced with the aim of giving an insight in to the social vagaries of the time. But the theatre of the time did not expose any awareness of the ritual functions in their deeper levels of actor, audience or other elements.