Folk Theatre



Kalapam is a theatre form, which portrays character through song, dance and acting, with a stress on character-portrayal. The famous Kalapams are Bhama Kalapam and Golla Kalapam, other theatre forms which do not have Kalapam as part of their name, were also popular - Koravanji Vesham, Koorakuta Vesham, Pantulu Pathani Vesham, etc. Usually it is a single incident elaborated to bring out the psychological and social nuances in a character. Because of it's association with classical drama, it is sometimes mistakenly called Veedhinatakam or Veedhi Bhagavatham.

The word 'Kalapam' has various meanings; it means a bund, a group, and a collection. Accordingly the art form, Kalapam, actually happens to be a collection of songs, in various metres, strung together by the artist. For example, the Kuchipudi School includes songs from Gita Govinda in their Bhama Kalapam. The dance-song of 'Dasavataram' is a must in their repertoire. Similarly, songs depicting the pranks of the child, Krishna, (Krishna Lila) are included in Bhama Kalapam, and the story of Ramayana in Chodigani Kalapam. These inclusions of various types of songs and dances not only extended the performance to be night-long one, but adds variety and wide understanding of the story.

The Kalapam stands midway between the Yakshaganam and Veedhinatakam. Kalapam added new specificities. Though there is only one actor in Kalapam, he is added by a second actor, who serves both as the Sustradhara and the Vidushaka. While the acting part is retained with the main actor, the descriptive-narrative parts are taken over by the second actor, who is the new addition in the Kalapam. Secondly, Kalapam introduced a feature of the character's self-introduction. The entrance song as it is called (pravesa-daruvu) is elaborated in the classical form of the Kalapam, whereas in the folk form, it is short and crisp.

These songs are usually couplet sequences of various metres called kalika, utkalika, dwipada manjari and ragada. They might also be stanzas comprising four lines like taruvoja and utsaha. All of them, when sung to a dance, are called daruvu, and are of varying length. They contain a 'Pallavi' and can be sung and danced in different time-scales. Originally, it is believed, that a cluster of four such songs was called Kalapam, which, in course of time, is given to the entire performance.


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Folk Theatre of Andhra Pradesh, India
Street Theatre ssssss Yakshaganam ssss Oggukatha ssss Veedhi Natakam
Burrakatha sssssss Tollu Bommalu ssss Kalapam ssssss Chekka Bhajana


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