Kids | Family,
May 10, 11, 17, 18 7:30pm; May 11, 12, 18, 19 2:00pm
Based on the centuries-old Sanskrit legend of Prince Rama, this production of the Ramayana is an adaptation by Berkeley playwright Anthony Clarvoe. "With the large ensemble cast and epic scope, it is one of the Civic Arts Stage Company's most exciting and challenging productions to date," according to Artistic Director Rebecca J. Ennals of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival who produce the company's programs in conjunction with the City of Pleasanton.
Rama, the wise and worthy hero prince, is portrayed by guest artist Salim Razawi, who is familiar to Las Positas Community College insiders as a national theater and debate competition award winner. His arch-nemesis, Ravana, King of the Demons, is played in alternate casts by local actor Jeff Zolfarelli and Oakland-based guest artist Leighland Hooks. The role of lovely Princess Sita is shared by Avery Clinton (who recently played Annika in Pippi Longstocking) and Madhumitha Krishnan, who is performing her first role with Civic Arts Stage Company.
'Partner acrobatics' is a challenging and exciting new element being incorporated into this production. Also referred to as 'AcroYoga,' it involves simple lifts and sharing weight using acrobatic positions and movement. Choreographer and movement director Amelia Adams taught cast members from age 7 to senior citizen how to perform moves that represent "everything from soaring vultures to terrifying demons to Hanuman, the flying monkey god."
The company enlisted the help of local Indian theater expert Maanasa Venkatasubbaiah as cultural advisor and dramaturge for this project, helping the cast to not only learn pronunciations of Sanskrit names and places, but also advising directors on appropriate behavior for the ancient characters. "We hope that this play will be delightful and familiar to families of South Asian heritage," says Ennals, "but also intriguing and fun for other families who probably won't know the story."
Presented by City of Pleasanton Firehouse Arts Center