A key function of a Kaliyogam is to have variety in its repertoire so as to sustain interest in the art. Kathakali aficionados are a fastidious lot and it is they who fuel the artiste’s aspirations to reach ever higher aesthetic levels; an unending quest.
Building up a repertoire with variety is a very hard task demanding multi-disciplinary skills involving the artistes, singers, percussionists, make-up and stage hands. Learning of texts, evolving choreographic details, rehearsing and fine tuning and stage presentation in the end, are all parts of the process.
The Margi Kaliyogam in Kathakali and Koodiyattom has evolved on the above lines. Highly structured and sophisticated arts like Kathakali and Koodiyattom in particular, will remain esoteric only. Undue concern for general popularity and tailoring of the arts to this object are known to have proved counter productive. On the other hand, to ensure the continued existence of an interested and knowledgeable audience, a must for the development of any art, it is necessary to impart some training in the art appreciation to those interested.
Wider audience reach is opening up in the form of the ever expanding print & visual media. By audience education, enlightenment & involvement via the visual media in particular, the audience base can be substantially widened. In fact, this is actually happening as evidenced by the ever larger numbers which Kathakali & Koodiyattom shows are drawing in recent times.
Philip B. Zarrilis books surveys the Kathakali scenario in Kerala in great detail, depth & insight. This will be of immense interest in this context.