Ramayana is one of the most important stories of the Indian culture. It's one that is told to us from the time we are children and the one that we pass on to kids in the changing times of modern society with Western ideas filtering into India, how does a story that's thousands of years old manage to compete with ever-changing beliefs? Rediscover the Epic manages to answer this in a multi-layered production that's as grand as the piece of Hindu mythology it represents.
The venue for the play is Royal Opera House which only adds to the regal atmosphere and transports you to the time of gods and kings. Sitting on the red chairs as you face a stage that's no less than an architectural marvel is a satisfying experience in itself. Rediscover the Epic shines in all its glory at the stage, in part due to the wonderful venue it takes place in.
This isn't just the same-old Ramayana performed without a change. The contemporary framework for this piece of Ramayana is that of an Indian household everyone watching it can relate to. The family gathers to watch the katha on television, to spend some time together during Diwali. It's the katha that makes up the Ramayana performed on stage.
Rediscover the Epic also touches on some heavy-handed topics such as dowry, casteism, and sexism that remains an issue even today. It's even more remarkable that it is brought up in a play by children, where even adults shy away from mentioning it among themselves. Media, too, plays an important role in the play. There are many scenes where reporters come up. A reference to the famous journalist Arnab Goswami was a hilarious watch that was appreciated by all adults. The way the media twists words around and over-dramatizes events was also a theme that was touched upon. The use of live video to show the news is an innovative touch.
All throughout, however, Rediscover The Epic remains immensely entertaining. There is not one boring moment as even scenes from the mythology are interspersed with plenty of music and dance. The costumes and set design are spectacular. You will be transported to the wedding of Sita and Ram, where you will even get to throw the customary flower petals on the happy couple. Ravana is also villainous as ever, with a booming laughter that is delightfully evil. The choreography of the fights is impeccable. The children gracefully move around the stage with skill and precision. It's not just the stage that Rediscover the Epic happens, it cleverly takes place all around, bringing the audience closer to the action of Rediscover the Epic.
Raell Padmasee's Ace Productions has aced itself with this masterful presentation. The cast consists of a staggering 150 children, all under the age of 20. The director Karla Singh has managed to bring out the best in all the children, in a performance that would rival any adult cast. It's hard to imagine the sheer amount of work that must have gone into creating the play, but it pays off well.
You must witness the magic of Rediscover the Epic this weekend. Book your tickets here. Watch the Rediscover the Epic trailer if you're looking for more: