Khyal or Khyala



  • A form of village theater popular in northern India. The earliestevidence of the genre is found in Agra and dates from the 18th century.Although there are many variant forms, the dramas are usually mythologicalor historical with romantic and heroic themes; they are performed by elaboratelycostumed male actors, generally to a musical accompaniment.

    The stage consists of a low-level acting area, the main stage,and a balcony; the main stage is often framed by four banana-treetrunks placed in the ground, from which colourful flags and lanternsare strung. Before the stage is constructed a pole is ritually plantedin the ground; performances begin with prayers to Ganapati, the elephant-headedgod, and other deities.