Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Ramayana


Constellation Theatre Company lives up to its name in presenting this heavenly production.


The Ramayana received critical acclaim last year but the best sign of its success is that of returning audiences for its re-mount.


That of course would be a given in South East Asia where sacred epic in many versions has been retold for millenniums.


This live version, directed by Allison Stockman, captures the sacred spirit of the religious nature of this work while providing first class ( serious, sexy and silly) entertainment.


Here's the recipe for an epic:


Music - here supremely provided by Helen Hayes winner Tom Teasley (www.tomteasley.com) .


Poetry-- Valmiki’s tens of thousands of verses in ancient Sanskrit turned into a lush soaring script by playwright/poet Peter Oswald


Dramatic tensions between good and bad guys-- from the blue god Rama (Andreu Honeycutt), to his dazzling wife Sita (Heather Haney) and a notorious villain, Ravana the Demon King ((Jim Jorgensen)


Singing and dancing and acting -- performed by an outstanding company of gods and demons.


Pageantry --this is not your monochromatic Greek tragedy setting--this is ancient India! The color of costumes and lights and props were both spectacular and yet utterly believable, including those multi-headed demon masks. (Thanks to A.J. Guban, Kenra Rai, Anna St. Germain, Samina Vieth)


Did I forget to mention you need monkeys, lots of them, like a pre-historic “Planet of the Apes” cast, led by the monkey god Hanuman (Matthew McGloin)


And of course divine inspiration helps, and that comes from director Stockman.


One warning on this production: it’s life span is all too short (Aug. 4-21) and it’s tickets going fast. Check it out on the web at ConstellationTheatre.org


Side note: Recently there was controversy in New York over an animated film version of the story which many found irreverent. Check out this link for more on that.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/24/sita-sings-the-blues-hindu-film-causes-a-stir-in-queens.html