Ramayana in Seattle October 12 – Nov 11, 2012

Seattle’s ACT Theatre is performing the Ramayana this month:

Here is what ACT says about the production:

One of the world’s most beloved and enduring legends, brought spectacularly to life.

Romance! Action! Suspense! Come along for the ride as we bring one of South and South East Asia’s greatest and most beloved epics to life. Ramayana tells the engrossing story of Rama, a young hero on a quest to rescue his beautiful wife from an evil king.  Like all great stories, it delivers riveting entertainment while posing essential questions about the human condition. Perfect for the whole family, sumptuously staged with vivid costumes, fantastical sets, and re-imagined environments, Ramayana is an eye-popping roller coaster of a show of mythical proportions – and unlike anything you’ve ever seen in Seattle!

The performance runs from Oct 12 – Nov 11 and there will be an Asian market in the lobby prior to each show.

Click here to see the official site and to buy tickets: ACT Theatre

Here is a link to my paper on the Greek and Indian Epics: The Myth and the Mundane: Reflections on Women in Society.

Here are the slides from my Kepler College presentation: Women in Indian Literature

Click the link to take a 10 question quiz on the Ramayana

Here is my score: You scored 9 questions correct on your first try, Yay! Not too shabby considering I haven’t read it since I wrote that paper.

Addendum, I just received this in my email:

For immediate release: Hindus “cautiously” welcome Ramayana stage production

Welcoming the ambitious theater production “Ramayana” formally opening in Seattle on October 18, Hindus hope that this stage version would stay true to the story and the spirit of their ancient Sanskrit sacred scripture.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that Ramayana was a highly revered scripture of Hinduism. Hindus welcomed attempt of renowned theater group like ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) and others to showcase Ramayana on stage; thus creating awareness about Hindu scriptures, philosophy and concepts; but urge that the final product should be the true depiction of it and not a fantasized or a re-imagined version.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted that Hindus wholeheartedly welcomed theater and film companies to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and respectfully, as refashioning of Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed was likely to hurt the sentiments of devotees. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols.

Rajan Zed pointed out that Ramayana was an integral part of Hinduism and was held in such reverence that Hindus believed that simply reading/hearing of it showered blessings upon the reader/listener. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was incarnation of Vishnu, and was worshipped by Hindus.

With seasoned and skillful professionals at the helm, we did not expect any problem, Zed said and added that they were just urging for more sensitivity towards faith traditions and careful handling of Hindu concepts and terminology. Zed, however, expressed concern at the mentioning of “re-imagined environments” in the ACT announcement of the play. If ACT or their associates needed any expertise on Hinduism related issues, he or other Hindu scholars would gladly provide the resources, Zed stated.

Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes, including human existence, concept of dharma, etc. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

According to reports, opening night of the world premiere of three-hour long multi-discipline “Ramayana” will be held on October 18, and it will continue till November 11. Described by ACT as “eye-popping roller coaster”, its production budget was about $500,000, it took two years in scripting and includes a large ensemble. Rama is played by Rafael Untalan, Sita by Khanh Doan, Ravana by John Farrage, Lakshmana by Tim Gouran and Hanuman by Brandon O’Neill in this play directed by Sheila Daniels and Kurt Beattie and adapted-created by Yussef El Guindi and Stephanie Timm. Tickets cost up to $37.50.

Located in downtown Seattle and dating back to 1965, ACT defines itself as: “A Theatre of New Ideas…A cultural engine that makes plays, dance, music, and film”; and believes in the “theatre of the moment”. Kurt Beattie, Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi and Brian Turner are its Artistic Director, Executive Director and Board Chairman respectively.

The Latest Update:

For immediate release

“Ramayana” producers in Seattle assure respectful portrayal to worried Hindus

Apparently to counter the worries of Hindus about the upcoming ambitious theater production “Ramayana” staying true to the story and the spirit of their ancient Sanskrit sacred scripture, producer ACT has assured respectful representation of cultures and traditions.

Becky Lathrop, Director of Marketing and Communications of ACT (A Contemporary Theatre), in an email to Hindu statesman Rajan Zed on October 16, wrote: “Efforts were taken to make sure that the cultures and traditions are represented respectfully. We hope the production/interpretation will be viewed as a wonderful opportunity to bring the teachings of the Ramayana to a broader audience.”

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that they were relieved to get the ACT’s assurance on respectful treatment of the highly revered scripture of the Hindus. Zed had earlier urged ACT that the final product should be the true depiction of Ramayana and not a fantasized or a re-imagined version.

Lathrop, in this email, also wrote: “Accuracy, preparedness and relationship building has been at the forefront of the project for the two years it has been in process.”

Rajan Zed had earlier stated that Hindus wholeheartedly welcomed theater and film companies to immerse in Hinduism, but taking it seriously and respectfully, as refashioning of Hinduism concepts and symbols for mercantile greed was likely to hurt the sentiments of devotees. Insensitive handling of faith traditions sometimes resulted in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols.

Zed had pointed out that Ramayana was an integral part of Hinduism and was held in such reverence that Hindus believed that simply reading/hearing of it showered blessings upon the reader/listener. Rama, the hero of Ramayana, was incarnation of Vishnu, and was worshipped by Hindus. Zed had earlier expressed concern at the mentioning of “re-imagined environments” in the ACT announcement of the play.

Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit scripture that consists of 24,000 stanzas, explores various themes, including human existence, concept of dharma, etc. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

According to reports, opening night of the world premiere of three-hour long multi-discipline “Ramayana” will be held on October 18, and it will continue till November 11. Described by ACT as “eye-popping roller coaster”, its production budget was about $500,000, it took two years in scripting and includes a large ensemble. Rama is played by Rafael Untalan, Sita by Khanh Doan, Ravana by John Farrage, Lakshmana by Tim Gouran and Hanuman by Brandon O’Neill in this play directed by Sheila Daniels and Kurt Beattie and adapted-created by Yussef El Guindi and Stephanie Timm. Tickets cost up to $37.50.

Located in downtown Seattle and dating back to 1965, ACT defines itself as: “A Theatre of New Ideas…A cultural engine that makes plays, dance, music, and film”; and believes in the “theatre of the moment”. Kurt Beattie, Gian-Carlo Scandiuzzi and Brian Turner are its Artistic Director, Executive Director and Board Chairman respectively.

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