Anurupa Roy, a trained ‘builder, manipulator and director’, combines puppetry, music and shadow play in a performance that delves into two of the many versions of the Ramayan. Moving away from Valmiki’s original rendition of the epic tale, she draws from the writings of Kirtidas and Bha-Vabhati that look at Ram from a human perspective and less as a deity. “They look at it as a tragic love story and narrate it from the troubling emotions he went through in his relationship with Sita,” Roy tells us.
Creative melting pot
The performance revolves around one primary puppet of a three-and-a-half foot Ram, manouevered by three puppeteers in the Japanese bunraku style. Shadow puppetry is woven in for scenes depicting Ram’s musings and animation (Vishal K Dar) comes in as landscape and as a part of his narration of the war between Hanuman and Raavan. “We found that this style allows for maximum articulation and show of movement to keep the fast-paced mood of the narration,” says Roy who has travelled the world with this show, even performing at ‘Charleville Mezieres – The Edinburgh of puppetry’.
Another critical element of the show is the original music composed for it by percussionist Abhijeet Banerjee who introduces the only element of sound in the performance. “There are no spoken words or dialogue of any sort so the entire show is highly dependent on the music,” elaborates Roy who decided to put together this performance with Banerjee and Dar after the three of them watched a similar rendition of the tale in Bali. “We realised that there are over 300 versions of the epic across South Asia with most of them passed on through the performing arts, not written verse. This is our way of celebrating the story from a lesser known angle,” Roy says.
December 13-15. At Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar.
Tickets (Rs 200) at bookmyshow.com