I another incident a charecter was supposed to die after getting pierced by an arrow. Despite getting hit he holds on and refuses to do the heart rending act of death. The adversary and the narrator both plead with him to end his death act. The character tells,' he owes me ten rupees, unless I get it I will not die' The audience roars with laughter. The issue gets amicably settled and he completes his death act!
I have given these two incidents, as they stuck me as very funny. But actual play is very seriously done and the humor part generally is a part of the story. The incidents told by me are extremely rare.
Where and when this art form develop? As most of the song, talk and narration is in Kannada and the performance is mostly in Thulu speaking country, my guess is that it must have come down from the hilly region of western ghats and given the enterprising nature of the Canara people it flourished there.There are written evidence that it existed in the 15th century and the singing style appears to be neither Karnatic nor Hindustani. Probably predates both, in which case it must have been before the 10th century. My ears detect a distinct resemblance to Hindustani classical music and my hunch therefore that it must have come from the northern regions of present day Karnataka and southern Maharashtra.
So much for the guessing.
These plays are now available on You tube