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Therukoothu | by Karthi KN Raveendiran
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Street Play (Theru koothu), the oldest and most powerful art form is a folk theatre performed in the open mostly during temple festivals in the villages of Tamilnadu, India. the performances generally depict scenes from ancient epics like Ramayana, Mahabharatha and tamil classical epics. There will be no dialogues instead only songs. Artists are trained to sing in their own voice and in a high pitch to reach entire crowd, since no technology available that time. The artists dressed up with complex heavy costumes and have a very bright elaborated makeup. They put on high towering head dress, sparkling shoulder plates and wide colorful skirts. Usually the whole trope will be played by males, even female characters also be performed by males.

Different variety of koothu includes Nattu Koothu, Kuravai Koothu, and Valli Koorhu, which are of about the state and culture of different peoples in Tamil country; Samaya Koothu showcasing religious topics, Porkaala Koothu, Pei Koothu, Thunangai Koothu about martial arts and war of the country. Another important art form viz, Chakyar koothu is very popular in Kerala.

In early days, they were respected for their skills and were invited to perform in villages during the festivals. The plight has changed over time, Street plays are now becoming extinct even in the rural villages of India, as the younger generation opt for dance programs, light music instead of street play.

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Taken on May 17, 2013