Ramayan by Polish artists sways Chicagoans

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A scene from Ramayan

Dave Vasudevan

CHICAGO:  Chicagoans experienced one of the best stage plays of Ramayan by Viva Kultura, an internationally acclaimed performing arts group that aims to probe the most universal and intimate of human emotions—love, joy, belonging—as expressed in cultures from around the world.
It was a great stage performance – unique in more than one way of fusion of ancient and contemporary art forms. This show encompasses hip-hop, Bharatanatyam, modern jazz, ballet, acrobatics and traditional Indian folk dance. It was a real eye candy.

Organized by Iskcon Naperville on Saturday September 22, the show was attended by many including a good number of non Indians too.  Shyam Kumar, who is in charge for the Cultural Committee of Iskcon Naperville, said that such programs are possible only with the support and contribution from the public.
Artists from 15+ countries displayed their multifaceted identities through an array of art forms such as ballet, classical Indian dance, hip-hop, jazz, folk music and poetry. Their performance was visually stunning. For those who did not have the opportunity to witness this remarkable play, they can log on to their website vivakultura.com for the calendar of events to see other locations and venues they are performing across the United States.

Known to be the greatest love story of India, Sita and Rama take one through every emotion; establishing the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Lord Rama, the grandest King of the ancient times, goes on an adventurous quest to rescue his beloved queen, Sita. The delicate Sita has been captured by Ravana, an evil Dark Lord of the underworld. A battle ensues between Lord Rama’s army of mystical monkeys and Ravana’s supernatural forces.
The unique production of Sita-Rama incorporates multiple elements of performing arts: dance, martial arts, acrobatics, aerial ring acts and even live musical performances. It is comic, adventurous, thrilling and very moving for every member of the family. From live music to the live action scenes and the dramatic emotions to high-risk acrobatics, audiences throughout the world are always captivated by this epic theatre production, Sita and Rama.

In the second part there was Bhagavatham. Proclaimed as the essence of Vedic literature, the Bhagavatam is a carrier of universal wisdom that deals with life’s fundamental questions of happiness, mortality and ultimate reality. Experience the energy and movement as the stage comes alive with the Bhagavatam’s message depicted through contemporary physical theatre.
The great Emperor Parikshit is faced with a lethal curse that declares that he will die in seven days. Enveloping the audience into the urgency of a person who has the world at his fingertips but only seven days left to live, the production takes the audience along on this enlightening journey as they witness the epic dialogue between Parikshit and the great sage Shukadeva. This minimalist style, where the actors use their bodies as props, encourages both performers and audience to experience a deeper immersion into the depths of the Bhagavatam.
Agnieszka Dawidowska, President of Viva Culture said Viva Kultura means “Long Live Culture” it is an excellent ambassador for unity in diversity. Mrs. Dawidowska founded the Foundation in 2000 and since has been hugely successful in sharing India’s fantastic culture and arts all over the world.  Viva Kultura has been performing in Poland for the past 30 years for audiences of up to 500,000 and has also toured Australia, South Africa, Brazil, India, Moldova, Mongolia, and the United States.

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