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Ramayana – A must see show in Bay Area

June 12
22:11 2013

IMG_1680FREMONT, CA: Like most Indians, I too have grown on the stories of the ancient epic “Ramayana”, be it Rama’s childhood adventures, villainous act of Kaikeyi, friendship of Hanuman or Vibishana’s great deeds. Now in its 35th year, Mount Madonna School’s Ramayana is the longest running Western production of the Indian classic epic.

The show features a cast of more than 205 student performers, ages 3 to 19 (preschoolers to high school), accompanied by a choir and musicians.

Ramayana is a heroic story centered on Prince Ram, an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. It is a story of love, adventure, separation and an eventual joyous reunion, in an ancient allegory of the battle of good and evil. From Bali to Indonesia to the Mediterranean and North America, the ancient epic continues to enthrall, delight and inspire millions of people from many cultures and generations who return again and again to hear the tale. The show was filled with exciting action, spectacular costuming (over 600 costumes), family humor and original, live music.

Speaking about the introduction of the play, Leigh Ann Clifton, Media and Public relations, Mount Madonna School, says, “Ramayana was introduced by Baba Hari Dass in 1972. But in 1979, the school commenced a production with the students and other children making up the cast”. The play has grown to be the widely anticipated annual school event of the year in which the entire school participates. Every child at Mount Madonna School is required to participate in the annual production, either as on-stage performers, musicians or backstage support staff.

The preschoolers take part as forest animals and work their way through various small parts as dancers, singers, monkeys, demons, and martial artists to lead players in their high school years.IMG_1686

“Mounting a show that has been part of the fabric of our school for more than thirty years carries with it the importance of tradition as well the benefits and challenges of familiarity,” says Sampad Martin Kachuck, Performing Arts Director for middle and high school. “Over the course of three months, we work and play hard, and through teamwork and trust, take the risks of engagement, experimentation and discovery,” he adds.

Anurag Christine White and Nicole Tervalon with their team of volunteers were in-charge of dazzling costumes, colorful staging and technical arrangements. Leah Parker works on musical instruction of the grand show. Mayana Lisboa, Kumu Lorraine Kalehua Kinnamon, Asha Pandya and Dr.Oscar Perez are the choreographers.

IMG_1869The presentation commenced with introduction of Shiva and Parvati as the narrators and the invocation to Goddess Saraswati by the entire cast. The story of the scripture was narrated in an amusing and entertaining manner. Bringing Ramayana to life each year is a labor of love for the crew as well, with hundreds of faculty, staff, parents and volunteers contributing to it, says, Leigh Ann. This is testament to the strong volunteer spirit and community-building efforts espoused by the school known for academic excellence, creative self expression and positive character development.

Mount Madonna school Ramayana is a must see show in Bay area.

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

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