By Manju Sampat
This January, Raell Padamsee’s Ace Media Productions returns with their mega production, ‘Rediscover The Epic’ in aid of CREATE FOUNDATION, founded in loving memory of Pearl Padamsee. It is currently on at The Royal Opera House. This play is indeed a show of epic proportions as it stars around 150 young actors from mainstream schools as well as several NGOs, all below the age of 20.
This wonderful musical is a multi-layered production, set in a contemporary framework, which flashes back to the times of the original Ramayana in all its resplendent glory. The third vital layer is the role the media plays in perpetuating stereotypes for their gain. In these times of eroding value systems and crass commercialization, this play highlights the really important values that the Ramayana has to offer, which seem to have been lost. Values like gender equality, the importance of a close knit family, honesty and loyalty, are high lighted in this mega spectacle.
The sets are grand and supported by a LED backdrop: a perfect blend of both modern technology and Broadway style flying sets. So the audience is transported in a jiffy to beautiful mountains, seas, forests and palaces.
All the music and songs are original and composed by the multi talented Merlyn D’souza, while the lyrics are written by the show’s playwright, Krishna Thakkar.
The specially choreographed dances to these amazing tracks have been choreographed by Prince and his team. The show has been conceptualized and produced by Raell Padamsee and directed by Karla Singh. It is quite a feat for them to have successfully managed to direct 150 actors!
This production is most creative, as it juxtaposes a modern day family’s problems and fights with those of the Ramayana, events from which unfold as the family watches the TV serial.
The show is a visual treat, because of its colourful costumes and lavish sets. The dancing is superb, especially the aerial dancing by Krisha Chheda. Other spectacular effects include a flying Hanuman descending onto the stage, and a ten headed neon lit Ravan finally being killed when the neon lit arrow strikes his naval. Mihiran Chakraborty acted really well as Ram, while Taanya Kapur made for a very pretty Sita. The play ends with everyone singing “Spread the Love, spread the Joy,” something Raell Padamsee seems to be doing in abundance!