Palakkad - the gateway to God's Own Country is the land of sprawling paddy fields, soaring palm trees, the ever - enchanting Silent Valley National Park and colourful festivals. The land has a rich tradition in folk art forms that serve to find a space for the people belonging to the lower strata of society.
Porattukali is a fascinating form of folk theatre that emanates from the resolute will of the downtrodden. An intrinsic folk theatre of Palakkad, Porattukali is an interfusion of dance, music and satire. Humour is the hallmark of these productions and caste was the basis on which they were written and designed. Perfect in its conception and presentation, these performance were easily accepted by the people.
Though there are specificities to every individual performance which shifts according to the talent of the artistes, the general structure of the play remains unchanged. Kelikottu, a special orchestra with chenda and ilathalam, is conducted prior to the performance. There will be a questioner, common to all performances, who can be compared to the fool of the Shakespearian theatre or the Vidhooshaka of the Sanskrit theatre. One group consists of fifteen members, including the singers and musicians. Usually the performance will last for one hour.
Dasi, Mannan, Mannathi, Cheruman, Cherumi, Chakkiliyan, Chakkilachi, Kavara, Kavarachi, Thottiyan, Thottichi, Kuravan, Kurathi, Kushavan, Pookkari, Mappila, Mappilachi and Mathoochi are the common characters performed. As the twilight creeps into the coziness of night, the stage will be lit by the yellow refulgence of lamps to commence the play.