kiskiKAHANI (the Ramayana Project)

300 Ramayanas and Counting . . .
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Posted on by Imran

Republished from The Fuschia Tree (  How do I begin? A question all too familiar to most of us of the creative persuasion or, indeed, of any persuasion, when we are starting something new. And it is this question that appears to plague Maya Krishna Rao’s character throughout her solo performance of Ravanama. Rao plays an actor preparing for the part of Ravana, the mythological ten-headed rakshas from the Ramayana. The actor struggles to come to terms with her new role: she moves in and out of an almost trance-like state in an attempt to transform herself into her ten headed character. It is as if a battle is taking place within her as different facets of Ravana are revealed. The different facets contradict and contend with each other just like Ravana’s ten heads,which are said to have represented different, often opposing, emotions. Sitting in the audience watching this personal battle unfold is an uncomfortable, voyeuristic experience of watching someone else’s private torment laid bare for all to see. The bare, dark stage with minimal props and a stark spotlight that follows Rao enhances the actor’s frustration and growing panic. The torment of the creative process sends her into a state of near hysteria: Rao’s wide eyed, panicked expressions, her guttural voice and staccato yet graceful movements give us a glimpse of how the art of creating something and getting something right can push a person to the limit— a Lakshman-rekha of … Continue reading

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