Staging of The Ramayana at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 7pm on 30th September-4th October 2011

Time : 7:00 pm0

Entry : Tickets: Rs. 500, 350, 200 and 100. 20% discount for students and senior citizens.
Reservations and information: Akshara Theatre – 23361075, 237420839313994368.

Place : Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi - 110001
Landmark : Next to RML Hospital Emergency Gate 5
Parking : Ram Manohar Lohia ( RML ) Hospital public parking or Inside Akshara Theatre
Set Attending / Not Attending status below :

Event Details : Staging of The Ramayana.

Background : 41 years ago, Gopal Sharman and Jalabala Vaidya embarked on a journey that was to change their lives forever. The Royal Shakespeare Company of Great Britain, inspired by the very successful London seasons of their first theatrical production, Full Circle, invited them to bring a stage production to their super-prestigious World Theatre Season. Gopal decided to create a production based on the Ramayana and he and Jalabala rushed back to India, to write the play and put together a cast good enough to present in the capital of world theatre.
Without any help from the Government or any other institution, they used their earnings from Full Circle as well as the proceeds from Gopals Homi Bhabha Fellowship Award to finance the undertaking.
Gopals method of writing was to lie on his back on the floor, in the dark, and dictate the words to Jalabala. He says that after making his mind completely blank, words and paragraphs would rush into his mind, like revelation. As he completed scenes and Acts, Jalabala would read them out to friends for their reaction and feedback.
A combination of peculiarly Indian circumstances of the 70s lack of professional theatre infrastructure, lack of funds, and the Indian crab syndrome of jealousy, intrigue and back-stabbing almost led to the crashing of the Ramayana dream they had to fire their cast and decided to call it quits.
Dr. Karan Singh and his lovely wife Asha persuaded them forcefully to not give up, to carry on with The Ramayana with Jalabala reading out all the characters. He even promised them a space where they could perform the play every night, in the Ashoka Hotel, in a space over the porch that they converted into a lovely, small theatre.
In November 1970, The Ramayana, brilliantly and innovatively directed by Gopal, using the form and artefacts of the traditional Indian katha and performed by Jalabala, found its way to its first audience.
It is 41 years later now. In the last four decades The Ramayana has played all over the world and created history in the process. It has played on Broadway, on the West End, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, in National Theatres in Europe and Canada, in some of the great universities of the United States and in 35 cities and towns all over India.
In these four decades, Gopal and Jalabala have also created the exquisite Akshara Theatre complex and Gopal has written and directed many more plays and made dozens of films. To his accomplishments as writer, director and musician he has added carpenter, electrician, stone sculptor, graphics designer, structural engineer and builder, as he painstakingly built the Akshara, literally with his own hands.
Now, 41 years later, they are taking another major step in their journey with The Ramayana.
 Over the last few years, Jalabala has painstakingly gathered and trained a group of extremely talented young people to perform The Ramayana with her. They have worked very hard for more than a year to craft a production where they attempt to bring alive the glory of Gopals Ramayana in a multi-cast production. Jalabala is joined onstage by Vikalp Mudgal as Rama, her grand daughter Nisa Shetty as Sita, Vidur Mohan as Ravana, Kritika Pande as Mandodari, Abhinav Mehra as Bharata, Mahant Shah and Dhruv Shetty (Jalabalas grandson) as Hanuman, Zahed Aman Khan as Prahasta, along with several other talented actors.
Of course there are constraints of funds, time and health: my parents Gopal  and Jalabala are in their mid-70s now but the essence and beauty of the epic shines through this new version of  The Ramayana too.

Related Events : English Plays | Theatre
Staging of The Ramayana at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 7pm on 30th September-4th October 2011 Staging of The Ramayana at Akshara Theatre, 11-12 B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg > 7pm on 30th September-4th October 2011 Reviewed by DelhiEvents on Tuesday, October 04, 2011 Rating: 5

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