Tholubommalata The Folk Performance

Tholubommalata the Folk Performance:

Tholubommalata is an ancient traditional art performance of traveling artists. In olden days this art was the main entertainment programme for the people. Nowadays the performers of Tholubommalata are very rare, in the way becoming decline. Perhaps, Some of the social organizations trying to aid the artists whose lives depended on performing Tholubommalata.
Actually, this is a shadow puppet show, performed by artists who travel from one village to another. Their existence totally depended on this art performance. Generally, the puppets made with various animal skins. These hides are tanned, made translucent and cut into various shapes and sizes. The sizes range is from one to six feet depending on the age and nature of the characters. These puppets have joints at the shoulders, elbow and the hip, all secured for manipulation by a string.

The performance of Tholubommalata:

During the performance of Tholubommalata, the artists prepare the traditional shadow theatre to present the performance with poetic form. Another interesting activity during the show is While the artists playing the puppets, the other sect of artists give their voices to the puppets. Due to the different voice modulation, each character has its own artist to give the voice.
In the villages, generally, the performance starts in the night around 9 P.M and last through the night. The troupe of shadow puppeteers consists of eight to twelve artists. The group will have at least two women for singing and speaking female roles. Two men for male roles and three instrument artists start playing the harmonium, Sruthi and Cymbals. One assistant uses for a quick supply of puppets and maintains the lamps.

Also Read: Kolattam Folk dance of Andhra Pradesh

Usually, the artists select an open place in the village for the stage, planting four bamboo sticks to form a rectangle shape with a cloth tied to the poles. The artists stand behind the white cloth and performed the puppets.

The group will have at least two women for singing and speaking female roles. Two men for male roles and three instrument artists start playing the harmonium, Sruthi and Cymbals. One assistant uses for a quick supply of puppets and maintains the lamps. Usually, the artists select an open place in the village for the stage, planting four bamboo sticks to form a rectangle shape a with cloth tied to the poles. The artists stand behind the white cloth and performed the puppets.

The Theme of the plays:

Generally, the artists adopt the theme for the performance from the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, and local legends. The artists add their own humor and wisecracks to appease the audiences. The artists wander on a village to another for nine months to perform the Tholubommalata.

The decline of Tholubommalata

At present the advent of televisions and cinemas made the people turning away from traditional forms of performing arts. The landlords and headmen are no longer to patronize artists like in the past. This event made the folk artists make away from the traditional arts and they have been migrating to other occupations.