170 participants from as young as 7 yrs to 63 years, 23 scene changes with related attractive props, settings, costume changes, sangamam: confluence of various dance forms Indian and Asian; the students, parents, teachers of Temple of Fine Arts, Singapore showcased their mega event, ‘Ramayana’ with ardent fervour commemorating 30 years of its existence.
‘Ramayana’ started with Sage Valmiki expounding the story to the sons of Rama and the rest of the scenes unfolded the various happenings in the epic.
The script for the production was written by the founder of TFA, His Holiness Swami Shantanand Saraswathi and for music Pt Ravi Shankar’s music scores were used in certain scenes and for certain others original scores from TFA musicians with lyrics from Swamiji were drawn upon. The production had narration, dialogues and theatrical action in stage settings in English.
The production saw a lively amalgamation of various Indian dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, semi classical styles, ‘Santhal’ dance (tribal dance common to states like Bihar, Assam in India), yoga movements as well as Asiatic dance styles of Bali, Sabah Sarawak and Thailand. And the dances were performed by students of TFA Singapore, Malaysia and India.
Various props appropriate for the scenes from a huge, sinister looking, creatively put together to make it as forbidding as possible, the demoness, Tataka, to the lovable monkeys’ tails were all carefully made by dedicated groups of volunteers.
With a big number of participants, dialogues, incorporation of various dance forms, theatrical acting, the various groups started to practise from May with intensive practises from October.
On her role in the production Lakshmi Krishnan, a student of TFA and presently dance tutor at TFA enthused, “I was involved in putting the show together with co teachers Ms Sujatha Rajagopalan and Mrs Deepa Vathsan and our part time teachers. Production was trimmed from 5 hours to 3 hours. We also divided the work from music editing, costumes, rehearsals, food, coordinating with other centres etc… I also sat in to clean up many scenes after the junior teachers had worked on the students in order to improve the level of performance and presentation….on the whole I enjoyed and relish the moments.”
And expressing her happiness in participation and voicing the common emotions of fellow participants Sonya Nair, 13 years, intermediate level student at TFA who took on various roles in the production, had this to say, “For me it was a great honour to be able to participate in something so spectacular. Of the many lessons that I learnt during the course of this production, the power of passion and dedication is one that has left the biggest impression on my heart. For all of us, it was that love to perform and to share the joy that we feel while performing. When you love something and are wholeheartedly dedicated to it, like we were to this production, that’s when something truly beautiful is born. “
‘Ramayana’ was presented by TFA from 7th to 9th Dec 2012 at TRCC, Singapore.