Loneliness in epic form

DC | SWATHI CHATRAPATHY
Published Nov 30, 2013, 5:40 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 9:11 pm IST
This mythology has come of age with a puppet theatre avatar of Ram and his musings

Ever thought of Ramayana as nothing more than a tragic love story of Ram, who is forced to be away from his wife Sita, he feels alone and fights for her, wins her back, only to abandon her? That's what this puppet play, About Ram, is about. Directed by Anurupa Roy, a professional puppeteer from Delhi, this is going to be their 56th performance. The non-verbal play, which promises to be a visual treat, is about Rama's life right from his childhood. “It's not about Ramayana. It's about Rama. We treat him as a human being, who faced difficult situations, made certain decisions and led a long life of loneliness," says Anurupa. The play, adapted from Kirtivaas and Bhavbhuti's version of Ramayana, ends with, “And he rules alone for the next 10,000 years," which essentially sums up the play about prolonged loneliness.

About Ram has travelled across countries, to France, Japan and Taiwan. “We performed even in Bengaluru in 2007, but not for children," says Anurupa. But this time, they have a special show just for children. “I was worried about whether children would understand it. But the response from Japanese kids was amazing! Also, my best feedback was from a six-year-old," she smiles.

 

Having been intrigued by puppets since the age of 11, Anurupa laughs that hers was a case of interest “gone out of control." She did a course in puppet theatre and now teaches the same course at National School of Drama in Bengaluru, although a Delhi resident. In the course of the play, we can see her influences that come from Japanese (Bunraku) and Odisi (Chhau dance) and Andhra (Tolu Bommalata) puppet theatre. The play consists of animation, which took almost a year to design.

The biggest challenge in puppet theatre, feels Anurupa, is to keep bringing in changes. “We have been performing this since 2006. Personally, I'm a person who gets bored easily. So my aim is to constantly challenge the minds of the audience as the audience's projection has a huge role to play. There are no expressions on the faces of puppets like with actors. So we do our best in utilising knowledge about physical movements and human body gestures, and let the audience understand the rest," she says.

 

About Ram will be showcased at Ranga Shankara on December 13, 14 and 15.

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