Saturday, April 9, 2016

Gowri Ramnarayan's US tour: AHAM SITA

With dance by Vidhya Subramaniam and Savita Narasimhan's recorded voice

(Photographs will be added later)

Our first show at San Jose went fabulously.

The theatre is clean, spare, nothing to write about, lighting basic mostly because we had to give cues, 
no lighting man here.

These limitations did not matter. 

But the audience! Their response was astonishing. They were with the production right through.
And sent some really interesting observations. 

The photos by Swagato are really special

Gowri Ramnarayan

I enjoyed how this popular theme was developed and presented from the feminine perspective.The narrator cum sutradhara, Gowri Ramnarayan, who wrote and emoted the characters of Sita, Urmila, Ahalya, Soorpanakha and Mandodari, was very convincing and effective. She set up the context and moved the story along succinctly. 

Vidhya Subramaniam's  finessed dancing and emoting of Sita from when she was a young innocent girl to when she was a jaded, used, rejected and finally a defiant queen was also equally enthralling. The costume changes with simply a dupatta was brilliant. 

The minimalistic stage setting, props and lighting were all well thought out and executed,( although the spotlights lacked the intensity or angle to reveal your nuanced facial expressions. Problem with most theaters for dance). 

The recorded music by Savita Narasimhan and Aditya Prakash augmented our experience of the storyline and characters. 

The music in many Indian languages with so much varied content, including konnakol, in just the appropriate ragas, was also very much appreciated. 

The message in the end that each one of us is Sita, and who likewise need to break the stereotypical mold, refusing to allow others to define us, was very powerful and timely. 

Overall, it was a satisfying, thought provoking and enjoyable performance making us want more.

Prema Sriram

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