Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Ramayan drama plays on light and shadow
Story and photos courtesy
Ram Goes To Forest (Raam Van-Gaman), a shadow drama, which is thought to be the first staged in T&T was recently held at the Shri Adesh Ashram, Aranguez.
The three hour-long production was written and directed by Professor Hari Shankar Adesh, also known as “Guruji.”
Forty members of the Bharatiya Vidya Sansthaan (BVS Institute of Indian knowledge), headed by Adesh, performed in the Vivek Adesh-produced drama. The lead roles were played by Sankalp Goberdhan (Raam), Ranu Sookdeo (Sita) and Arun Katwaroo (Lakshman).
According to Wikipedia, the shadow play or shadow puppetry is “an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create the impression of moving humans and other three-dimensional objects.”
In Raam Goes To Forest, these shadows were used in many ways to express heroism, devotion, humour, menace and even redemption in the drama.
The lighting technicians skillfully skirted the boundaries between the brighter and darker aspects of characters of the Ramayan.
The drama dealt with the 14 year exile of Raam, the hero of the Ramayan.
Members of the audience who were seeing a shadow drama for the first time, were fascinated by how actors synchronised their movements with the voices of the supporting musicians, singers and narrators to produce a most brilliant theatrical performance.
Dr Mavindra Maharaj, executive member of the BVS said in an interview, “Only Guruji with his expertise can take the darkness of shadows to reveal the light of the Ramayan.”
In ancient times, the shadow play was a popular storytelling device in countries like India and China as well as in Europe. Now that it has been warmly received by Trinidadians, there will be a repeat of this production, as well as two others written by Adesh in September.
About Professor Hari Shankar Adesh
Professor Hari Shankar Adesh arrived in T&T in the 60s as a cultural officer at the Indian High Commission.
He adopted this country as his home and started teaching classes in Hindi, music and Indian religious knowledge free of charge. A spiritual leader, educator, poet, playwright, he received the Humming Bird Gold in 2001 for dedicated service.
He has written hundreds of poems, songs, books and drama and the latest, Raam Goes To Forest draws on the Hindu religious book the Ramayan and from Adesh’s work on the mysteries of Shri Raam.
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