|Irinjalakuda, Trissur district,(AEO), Irinjalakuda.|
|Temple festival, Sree Koodalmanikyam Temple Irinjalakuda|
Since Koothambalam is a dance theater on the temples premises where debut dance or koothu performers dedicate their performance to the presiding deity there, a fairly good audience will be present in the other side of the Koothambalam. Songs, music dialogue, etc need to be well heard by the audience. As the entire auditorium is made of wood except the foundation and lower ground level, special attention is paid to the ceiling above the structure and the main stage that allows free movement of various performers as well as rhythmic and thalam accompanists. The wooden ceiling is specially designed with well defined carving so as to pick up good acoustics. A small whisper in the performance space could easily reach the audience far and wide. Carpenters employed to take care of acoustic arrangement are highly skilled and experienced. The trick is symmetrical, worked wooden panel and it goes well for fine production of sound without any echo.
At the Koothambalam here, certain ritualistic norms are followed along with the dramatic sequences. The 5-day Kodiyattom is a good example: The Abhishekanatakam is followed by purappad on the first day, Nirvahanam on the second and third day and Koodiyattam on the concluding days. The scenes from the great epic Ramayana are enacted - Ravana’s death in Sri Lanka to Rama's Pattabhishekam (coronation) at Ayodhya and Agnipravesam of Sita (Ramas' consort getting into the bed of fire to prove her unalloyed character). The performers are males from
Chakyar community. The temple Tantri plays the role of sage Vasista and performs rites before kalasa (pot with rice) to be poured over Sri Rama at the coronation ceremony.
The Koothambalam' Natya mantapam (center stage) at Irringalakuda is not only large enough to allow such a big dance performance -Koodiyattom to move smoothly, every spoken word and music reaches the audience on account of well-planned and carved wooden features in the ceiling that produce good acoustics.
Such performing art forms are held particularly in Kerala for various reasons - propitiating the gods for good rain for the harvest fertility, welfare of the society and family and most importantly for salvation- to get to the lotus feet of God without any rebirth.