• A musical folk theater of central India performed in the villagesof Madhya Pradesh; it originated in 17th-century Rajasthan, whereit formed part of the spring celebration of Holi. The plays have complexplots and are usually based on social, religious, or historical themes. Men traditionally play all the roles, although women are now sometimes seen.

    Performances take place in an open space on a three-foot-highstage, which has a border across the front to block off the view ofthe actors' feet. The all-night performances begin with a ceremony of blessing, which is danced as a summons to the villagers. This is followed by an overture in dance and song and then by the main Maach drama.