Audience
Characters
Rituals
Music
Kattaikkuttu performers work in a company. Such a group consists of three musicians and about 10 to 12 actors. The group travels by bus to go to a performance. Some of them have a moped or motor-cylcle to bring them.

Actors carry their costumes, ornaments and stage props in bundles on their head.

Do you think the men wear dresses? That is not the case! They wrap a white piece of cloth around their waist. It is called 'dothi' or 'veshti'. This is a suitable dress when you go out to perform.

When the Kattaikkuttu actors arrive in the village they eat dinner in one of the houses of the organisers. After they have eaten they go to the green room where they unpack their costumes and get the place oganised. The 'green room' is a small shed of coconut thatch where the actors do their make-up and get dressed. In the green room a small light bulb hangs low to the ground so that the actors have enough light to see their faces during the make-up.

Every performance starts with a 'puja'. This is an offer to the deities. Actors believe that this prayer will protect them from harm.

For the puja, the leader of the company draws a sign with white make-up powder on the make-up stone. He places flowers on the stone and on the large crown that important Kattaikkuttu characters wear. Then he breaks the coconut into two halves and sprinkles its water around the puja place. With the sound of cymbals and drums the green room is cleaned of negative energy. Next, the organizers of the performance will tell the leader of the company which story they would like to see. When an important person has died, there is no choice. On such an occasion the play about the hero Karna who dies on the battlefield will be performed. People believe that this play will help the dead person to find peace, just like Karna in the story of the Mahabharata.

Once he knows which play the village wants to see, the leader of the company tells each actor which role he has to perform. The make-up can begin.