From 3 to
5 pm the students have kattaikkuttu class. They learn the traditional plays, but
also new stories written by P.Rajagopal.
In the Kattaikkuttu
class listening is very important. The students of the School get a written
script of the entire play, but it is impossible to learn Kattaikkuttu from
a paper. You need a teacher or 'vattiyaar'. Listening to him and copying
what and how he sings and speaks or how he moves on stage, form the essence
of the Kattaikkuttu teaching process.
kids know more than a hundred songs. After they have gone through the whole
script, teacher Rajagopal will decide about the division of the roles. That
is always an exciting moment. Who will get the most important character
Rajagopal finds a good day to start with the movements.
has dance and body movements, which are different for different characters.
Important are the fast kirikkis, a kind of pirouette used by heroic, male
characters. The students like practising it and do it all the time...
At 6.30 pm it
becomes dark quickly. Most children go inside and watch television or do
some homework. Sometimes they sit outside in front of the school, talking
and looking at the stars. Dinner is at 7.30 pm. After that the children
go off to sleep. Nobody has to tell them. They spread out their mats on
the floor and lie down to sleep. At 9 pm it is dark in the school. Everybody
seems to be asleep. Or did I hear someone whispering in the girls' room?
But far more
difficult than the kirikkis is it to act out a character with emotion
and gesture. It takes a lot of rehearsals to combine text, songs, dance
and acting out a role together. Step by step a real play is
class at 5 pm it is time for cricket. At least for most of the boys whose
favorite game it is. Girls play other games. Or they do homework. As
the boys say: 'Girls are much better at schoolwork, because they are more
intelligent and work harder.'